December 6, 2019

Del Norte denies Encinal of NCS D-V title in gut-wrenching fashion


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HAYWARD — Encinal’s collective dream of capturing a section title was one kick away from becoming reality.

Alas, Encinal’s reality was about as cold as the night. With 16.3 seconds remaining, Del Norte blocked Encinal’s game-winning 25-yard field goal attempt. The ball never made it more than four feet off the ground.

Del Norte blocks the kick with 16.3 seconds remaining. No timeouts left for Encinal. Del Norte will be the 2019 NCS DIII champions. #BAPrepsHQ@DarrenSabedra @leftwich @JensenPhil @VytasMazeika @schwab_matt @BayAreaPrepsHQ pic.twitter.com/qxrddltdFh

— (Poetic) Justice delos Santos (@justdelossantos) December 1, 2019

As the pigskin rolled around the artificial turf after being swatted by the Warriors’ special teams unit, the true reality set in: Del Norte had squeaked by Encinal, 14-13, to capture the 2019 North Coast Section Division V championship.

“It hurts when you lose close ball games like this,” said Encinal coach Keith Minor. “These are the ones you remember. These the ones you gon’ remember the rest of your life.”

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For top-seeded Encinal (11-2), that field goal had the chance to erase a litany of missed opportunities.

With eight minutes remaining in regulation and No. 2 Del Norte (12-1) leading 14-7, Encinal’s Isaiah Smith exploded for a 68-yard touchdown run, but a pair of unforced errors resulted in an unconverted extra point attempt.

An unsportsmanlike penalty — one that evoked memories of the Egg Bowl from earlier this week — combined with a false start resulted in a 40-yard extra point attempt that clanged off the left upright. Instead of a tie score, Del Norte clung to a 14-13 lead.

Encinal had an opportunity on its next offensive drive after getting a defensive stop, but fell victim to another unforced error. Following an incomplete pass, a Del Norte defender was flagged for a personal foul, which would have given Encinal the ball on Del Norte’s 39-yard-line along with a fresh set of downs.

That golden opportunity fell by the wayside when an Encinal receiver retaliated, resulting in offsetting penalties. The drive ultimately ended in a turnover on downs.

“There were some close calls, but you know what, we gotta play better,” Minor said. “In the end, that message is, if you want that inch, you want that point, you gotta work for it.”

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Encinal cast the first stone when quarterback David Romero-Reinholz lofted up …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports

      

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