By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
Badly in need of a knockout punch to get rid of pesky San Marino, the San Dimas High School football team turned to fullback Domonic Jollevet. He did not disappoint. Jollevet broke away for a 77-yard touchdown run with just under three minutes to play to turn a three-point San Dimas lead into a 31-21 victory over the Titans in the first round of the Mid-Valley Division playoffs at Citrus College on Thursday night.
“I was very nervous when they cut the lead to three,” said Jollevet, who rushed for 216 yards and two scores. “What I decided to do was run hard, and I saw the hole, saw the goal posts and I said `screw the cutback, I’m gonna take it this way.’
“I told everyone on the team that if you put the team on your back, I’ll put the team on my back and hopefully we’ll pull out with this win and keep going.”
The win improved San Dimas to 9-2. The Saints are the division’s No. 3 seed and will face the winner of the Valley Christian-Azusa game, which will be played tonight at Citrus College. San Marino finished 7-4.
Not many fans outside the prestigious 91108 zip code expected the Titans to push San Dimas to the brink. But the Titans got big performances from quarterback Matt Wofford (214 yards passing) and running back Kwame Do, who ran for 122 yards and three touchdowns.
San Dimas twice had double-digit leads, but San Marino wouldn’t go away. After Dillon Corona hit a 24-yard field goal to put San Dimas up 24-14 late in the third quarter, the Titans made their final surge.
Wofford drove his team 80 yards in just under seven minutes and Do finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 24-21 with 3:36 left.
San Marino didn’t attempt an onside kick, instead kicking short and deciding to play defense with two timeouts remaining. But Jollevet took his 14th carry of the night straight up the middle and into the end zone to seal the win.
“They are a good football team,” Saints coach Bill Zernickow of San Marino. “So it wasn’t a surprise so much as it was us not executing and turning the ball over two times in the end zone. Believe it or not, I’ll take an ugly win over a pretty loss.”
San Dimas helped the Titans stay in the game by twice turning the ball over deep in San Marino territory. In the first half, San Dimas had a pass intercepted in the end zone to kill a drive and in the second half the Saints fumbled the ball into zone to end another. Both plays resulted in touchbacks for San Marino.
“We’re going to do a lot of drills next week to improve that,” Zernickow said. “It’s very uncharacteristic of what we’ve been doing. I can’t remember the last time when we fumbled balls into the end zone and stuff like that.”
San Dimas darted to a 14-0 lead and looked like it may cruise into the second round.
Jake Payton’s 9-yard touchdown started the scoring on San Dimas’ first possession. After getting the ball back, quarterback Shawn Kennedy concluded San Dimas’ second possession by hitting Devante Brown on a 19-yard touchdown pass.
San Marino methodically drove down field and answered with a 2-yard run by Do. The Titans defense held San Dimas on its ensuing possession and the score was soon tied after a 3-yard touchdown by Do.
Jollevet gave San Dimas the lead back for good by taking the third play of the second half 58 yards for a TD and a 21-14 advantage.”Domonic did a great job for us,” Zernickow said. “I think we had 24 plays in the first half for two scores, so we have to get better than that.”