Saturday’s Southwest Semifinal
El Dorado 23, South Hills 17, OT
Robledo’s Thoughts: If you’re supposed to play every high school playoff game like it’s your last, then South Hills High School football players can wake up on Sunday and feel proud of their effort. It’s no fun being on the losing side of one of the most dramatic football games of the season, but as Bogan said afterward, it’s just a game.
The Huskies trailed 10-0 and looked like they were about to get blown out when El Dorado QB Kane Wilson threw a deep pass inside the Huskies’ 10, but Dorian Wells stripped it and Eric Glaster pounced on the fumble, which changed the momentum. The Huskies kicked a field goal with less than a minute left in the half, and only trailed 7-3 at the break.
Late in the third quarter, Huskies linebacker Chris Bowden picked off Wilson, and returned it to the Hawks’ nine, setting up Deen’s nine-yard TD pass to Dimitri De La Fuente to tie the score, 10-10, with 1:47 left in the third quarter.
The Huskies went in front when Eric Glaster picked off Wilson, and returned it 55-yards for a touchdown and 17-10 lead with 5:06 remaining, which set up the dramatic final moments. The Hawks tied the score 17-17 on Wilson’s 22-yard touchdown pass to Nolan Sheldon with 1:08 remaining. Maybe it’s the hometown reporter in me, but I swear he was out of bounds on that catch.
But Deen, who was 10-0 as a starter, showed why, leading the Huskies back with an 11-yard pass, then a clutch 36-yard strike to De La Fuente with 52 seconds left, and following a roughing penalty on Deen, the Huskies suddenly had the ball on the Golden Hawks’ 9-yard line with 52 seconds left.
A couple of runs set up kicker Michael Scott, but he lost his footing on a muddy 25-yard game winning field goal attempt as time expired, sending the game into overtime.
“He didn’t get a good plant,” Huskies coach Steve Bogan said. “We thought it was a sure thing. But it happens. It’s not his fault.”
Below: Huskies players look on as FG attempt sails wide
The Huskies had the ball first in overtime, but couldn’t move it, and Scott’s 41-yard field goal attempt came up short.
On the next play, Wilson, who threw for 226 yards, scored on a 25-yard run up the middle to send the top-ranked Golden Hawks (12-1) to the championship game, where they will play for their second consecutive title and put their 12-game winning streak on the line Friday against Trabuco Hills.
Obviously, it was a bitter defeat, but Bogan put it in perspective.
“It’s hard, it’s a big disappointment, especially in that situation,” Bogan said. “You don’t want to get overly philosophical. You’re lying if you don’t say it’s a big disappointment. But it is a game. This is when you learn the most. You celebrate when you win, and you learn what you’re made of when you don’t. We’ll be fine.”
Southwestern Division semifinals
No. 3 Trabuco Hills 27, No. 4 Charger Oak 3
Robledo’s thoughts: Don’t blame it on the weather or the officiating, Trabuco Hills was just better on Friday night. Maybe if the score was 10-3, or 13-3, you could make that argument, but the Mustangs outscored the Chargers 20-0 in the second half to punch their ticket to next week’s final. Mustangs running back Matt Wagner rushed for 136 yards and a touchdown, and the Mustangs defense limited Chargers back Kanaan Snowden to just 51 yards. Chargers QB Chris Allen was 6 of13 for 55 yards. Charter Oak had its chances. Mikey Harrell had a 55-yard punt return for a touchdown called back early in the first quarter because of holding. And just prior to that, it appeared Charter Oak had picked off Cory Brandt’s first pass and had a clear path to the endzone, but the Chargers DB couldn’t control it.
Joshua Aussem scored with 5:47 left in the half to give the Mustangs a 7-0 lead, but the Chargers came right back and appeared to tie the game on Allens’ five-yard touchdown run with 24 seconds left, but the side judge made an absolute horrible call, flagging Allen for a face mask when all he did was straight arm a defender out of the way. Check out our video on Saturday if you don’t believe me. The Chargers settled for a field goal, so instead of possibly being up 14-7, they were down, 7-3.
Again, that wasn’t the difference. The Mustangs were clearly better in the second half, moving the ball at will. And they didn’t beat themselves in the muddy conditions, fumbling just once early, and not getting flagged by the officials until late in the fourth quarter. I thought the wet conditions took away Charter Oak’s athleticism, particularly with Snowden, who didn’t have a lot of chances in the open field. Wagner, more of a straight forward bruiser, just followed his blocks and picked up first downs six and seven yards at a time. Congrats to Charter Oak on a great season, and good look to Trabuco Hills in the final.
Video Highlights of Charter Oak-Trabuco Hills
Click on tonight’s scoreboard for score-by-score updates.
South Hills score-by-score updates