There’s nothing anyone can tell Bonita High School running back ReggieTurner right now, so just shut up.
Turner is feeling the pain from his late fumble that three plays later lead to San Dimas scoring the go-ahead touchdown and crucial extra point for a 37-36 win in a stirring renewal of the Smudge Pot on Thursday night at Citrus College.
Bonita had rallied from a 23-0 deficit in the first half to go on a 36-7 run and lead 36-30 with just under three minutes to play with the ball at their own 10-yard line.
The Bearcats likely needed only a first down or a good Brandt Davis punt to pull off one of the most epic comebacks in one of the most epic games in one of the area’s most epic rivalries.
Then, Turner fumbled.
And anybody who’s seen his or her share of football knew what was coming next. And it did, in the form of an Andrew Espinoza 10-yard touchdown run with two minutes to play. Erick Ware booted through the extra point and the Saints were on their way despite some late Bonita attempts to steal the game back.
Turner was inconsolable after the game. He probably still is today. He probably will be 10 years from now. But the loss, wasn’t his fault. Not that he’ll want to hear that.
The loss was nobody’s fault but Bonita’s. Not Turner. Not the the long snapper who sent the ball over Davis’ head on Bonita’s first punt attempt, which resulted in a safety. How big were those two points when it was all said and done?
Nor was it the fault of the coaching staff, which when down 23-0 decided to go for two and got it, but when trailing by 22 mere minutes later decided to the kick extra point. There’s really no difference between a 22- or 23-point deficit. But the decision to not go for two again proved big. How big would that point have been in a 37-36 loss
It’s cliche, but nobody loses a game for a football team. A football team loses a game for a football team. Bonita learned that lesson on Thursday night.
That’s what football is. It’s a potpourri of mistakes. The winner is the team with the fewest mistakes and the one with the most points. They’re typically one in the same.
“We made one less mistake than they did,” San Dimas coach Bill Zernickow said after the game. “That’s all it was.”
Were the Bearcats the better team? Well, they were good enough to go on a 36-7 run and bad enough to give up a 23-0 run.
Turner and his teammates are feeling the sting of what happens when you risk in life and lose in a cruel manner. It’s a feeling they’ll no doubt experience again later in life, be it in another football game or something else.
Turner was in the game after returning from injury, but few will remember that because of what happened next. But anybody who really knows what happened on Thursday knows this painful loss for Bonita runs deeper than one man and one play.
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