December 6, 2019

NCS playoffs: Top-seeded Kennedy suffers heartbreaking defeat on rainy night

BENICIA — It all ended in heartbreak for No. 1 seed Kennedy-Richmond on a rainy and cold Saturday night at Benicia High.

St. Bernard’s of Eureka, seeded second, earned its fifth North Coast Section title with an entertaining 31-28 win over the Eagles in the Division VI championship game, courtesy of a 37-yard field goal by senior Guillermo Perez-Estrada that broke a 28-28 tie late in the third quarter, along with a courageous performance from dual-threat quarterback Will Omey.

“I think we played awesome and it was a battle to the end. We fought for four quarters and it feels awesome to come out on top,” said Omey, a two-way star who ran for 108 yards and passed for 252, accounting for two touchdowns.

A teary-eyed Kennedy coach Greg Marshall, whose team was vying for school’s first section title in 31 years, struggled for words during the rain-drenched aftermath.

“I’m just proud of my boys for what they accomplished, but we came up short,” Marshall said. “… We wanted it, but just because you want it you’ve got to go for it. They’re not gonna hand it to you.’

He added that “we made a lot of mistakes and came up short. That’s a good team over there. They got us today. They were the better team today.”

During a mistake-filled fourth quarter both teams had chances to nail this one down.

After Perez-Estrada’s clutch field goal, the Crusaders recovered an onside for the second time in the third quarter, and then marched deep into Kennedy territory on Omey’s shoulders, but he was intercepted in the end zone by Kennedy junior Bobby Williams, who returned the ball to the Eagles’ 4-yard line. But Kennedy turned the ball over on a fumble after a completion as St. Bernard sophomore Jacob Smallwood recovered at the Eagles’ 39.

St. Bernard’s managed a first down before turning it over on downs, giving the Eagles one final chance to march down the field and earn a historic win, beginning on their own 26. It wasn’t to be. Williams, also the quarterback, was intercepted by Lane Thrap on a third-and-7 play and the Crusaders ran out the clock.

In addition to Omey’s all-around play, Justin Hagler ran for 83 yards and two touchdowns, and Damarte Prudhomme was St. Bernard’s big-play threat. He had three receptions for 124 yards, including a 68-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown on a third-and-15 play that gave his team a 21-7 lead with 2:40 left in the first half.

But Kennedy, a resilient team with a bunch of playmakers, battled back to force a 21-21 tie before the half, thanks to back-to-back touchdowns in the final 54 seconds. First Camron Young scored on an 8-yard run, and then senior Trey Baker, who had a big night with 114 yards rushing and accounting for two touchdowns, had the Eagles’ play of the night. He picked off Omey and weaved through the Crusaders on a breathtaking 65-yard touchdown return, sending the Eagles into intermission with a ton of momentum.

Omey thought his team played …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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