Saturday Morning Quarterback: Diamond Ranch holds off South Hills, 31-27; San Dimas pulls away from Azusa in second half, wins, 50-24

Mid-Valley Semifinal: San Dimas 50, Azusa 24
By Steve Ramirez Staff Writer
Either way, one team was going to make history at San Dimas High School on Friday night. The only question was which team. The answer proved to be the host Saints.
Ryan Kohler rushed for 202 yards and three touchdowns and the San Dimas football team advanced to the school’s first CIF-Southern Section divisional championship game with a 50-24 victory over Azusa in a Mid-Valley Division semifinal..
The Saints, also getting 117 yards and two TDs from Dillon Corona and 99 yards and a TD from Jordan Taylor, improved to 12-1 and will face either top seed Monrovia or Whittier Christian in next Saturday’s championship game at a site to be determined. The Wildcats host the Heralds tonight.
Azusa, making its first trip to the semifinals, finished 11-2. The Aztecs, who led 24-21 early in the third quarter, received 149 yards from running back Kendrec McDade, 121 coming in the first half.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” said San Dimas coach Bill Zernickow, whose team rushed for 476 yards. “I’m just so proud of our kids to be able to do something like this.
“I don’t know how long the school’s been here, but being able to be the first (football team) to do it, it’s pretty special.”
It was well-earned because the Aztecs, taking advantage of their spread-option attack, had the Saints concerned in the first half, jumping out to a 14-6 lead following a 5-yard run by McDade with 8:01 left in the first quarter and a 2-yard run by quarterback John Chavez at 2:01.
Azusa, after San Dimas twice rallied to tie it at 14-14 and 21-21 in the second quarter, then opened the second half with a 63-yard drive down to the San Dimas 4. But it stalled on a third-and-5 run by Steven Blount gained just a yard.
Azusa coach Joe Scherf opted for a field goal and the lead, which he got when Jose Nunez nailed a 21-yard kick for a 24-21 advantage with 4:23 left in the quarter.
“I just felt the way our defense was playing it would be enough,” Scherf said. “We contained them in the first half and I thought we would be able to stop them. But they were just better than us.”
The Saints proved it the rest of the half.
Kohler broke off a 59-yard run for a 28-24 lead on the next series before Taylor followed with a 46-yard TD burst and a 36-24 advantage with 38 seconds left in the quarter. Kohler and Evans then sealed it with TD runs of 3 and 18 yards for a 50-24 advantage with 1:43 left in the game.

Southeast Semifinal: Diamond Ranch 31, South Hills 27
By Fred J. Robledo — Staff Writer
While South Hills contemplates the crucial call that went against them, Diamond Ranch proved again that it doesn’t matter how you play in September, it’s what you do in December that matters most. After starting 1-6 and advancing to the championship game last year, the Panthers did it again, erasing a 1-6 start to reach the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division title game with a come-from-behind 31-27 victory over South Hills at Covina District Field on Friday.
Panthers quaterback Gus Viramontes helped the Panthers overcome a 14-0 deficit by throwing for 213 yards and two touchdowns, and running for another as the Panthers won their sixth straight to face the winner of tonight’s other Southeast Division semifinal between Charter Oak and California next week.
South Hills had a chance to take the lead trailing 24-21 in the fourth quarter when Geoffrey Vaughns scored on a nine-yard run, but a late flag came over the middle — an offensive face mask on the Huskies — and they would eventually miss a 31-yard field goal with 8:32 left.
After Viramontes connected on a 33-yard pass to Ryan Gibson on a third-and-13 to the Huskies’ one, Chase Price scored from a yard to make it 31-21 with 3:12 left, and they held on after a late Huskies touchdown.
“We talked about Gus at the beginning of the year, people don’t give him enough credit,” Layton said. “A quarterback is defined by his leadership and wins, and this is a guy who has taken his team to two straight championship games.”
For Bogan, the face mask call that would have given them the lead was was a difficult one to stomach.
“That’s the first time I have ever had that called on us, an offensive lineman called for face mask,” Bogan said. “It’s hard when you’re in a game like this to have points taken off the board, but you don’t want to let it take away from how yard you battled.
“My hats off to Diamond Ranch, and for us, this is an opportunity to suck it up and grow as men and learn that life isn’t always going to go your way when you give everything you have. You only lose when you quit and we didn’t quit.”
The Panthers might be the first team ever to start 1-6 in consecutive years and reach the championship in both seasons, which Layton says is a reflection of his teams character.
“This is what we do,” Layton said. “We don’t worry about the preseason. I know a lot of teams that were 5-0 in the pre-season and they’re in the stands watching right now.”
Huskies quarterback Jacob Shirley threw for 162 yards, opening with a 13 yard touchdown to Andrew Roddy followed by a Vaughns nine-yard touchdown to give the Huskies a 14-0 lead, but the Panthers scored 18 unanswered points to take an 18-14 halftime lead.

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