EL CENTRO- In game one of Manzanita League high school football action the Vincent Memorial Scots withstood a late surge, fending off the Calipatria Hornets 28-16.
From the first whistle both teams exchanged methodical and time-consuming drives. With three minutes to go in the first period the Scots were knocking on the door of the Calipatria 30-yardline but were faced with a fourth and long scenario.
A risky call to go for it on fourth down paid off when quarterback (#12) Eduardo Valenzuela ran 29-yards to the Hornet’s 1-yard line on a QB keeper and set up a 1-yard TD run by running back (#28) Daniel Rizzo to take a 7-0 lead.
At the beginning of the second quarter the Hornets also penetrated the red-zone but came up dry.
On third down and 6. at the 15-yardline, a reverse attempt was thwarted by the Scots when defender (#87) Mattias Monge sniffed out the trick play and scooped up a fumble.
On the ensuing drive after the fumble recovery, Vincent Memorial rode running back Rizzo, deep into Hornets territory where he finished off the sequence with a 3-yard TD run jumping ahead by two scores 14-0.
With 2:13 left in the second period, Vincent quarterback (#12) Valenzuela chucked a 40-yard cherry to wide receiver (#15) Juan Ruiz.
Threatening again at the goal line, a 3-yard roll out TD dart to running back (#3) Juan Molina gave the Scots a 21-0 lead to take the game into the half.
In the third quarter the Hornets stiffened up the defense and capitalized on their next trip into the Vincent Memorial red-zone on a TD carry by full back (#63) Dylan Fonder from 10-yards out. A successful 2-point conversion put the game at 21-8 to end the third period.
Unable to get any offensive rhythm in the second half the Scots were forced to punt again at the beginning of the fourth quarter giving the Hornets good field position.
A 35-yard stampede by Calipatria into Vincent Memorial territory situated a 35-yard TD connection to tight end (#45) Jimmy Mejia, to make it a 5- point contest, at 16-21, after another successful 2-point conversion with over ten minutes left in the game.
Another big drive would put the Hornets within striking distance with 3:45 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The game came down to a Calipatria 4thand 6 situation at the Vincent Memorial 27-yardline. Another broken up trick play found the Hornets under duress in the backfield where a forced fumble recovery by Scots’ linebacker (#52) Adrian Navarro crushed the come-back attempt.
A last minute 14-yard TD trot by running back Rizzo locked up the 28-16 victory for the Scots.
“We were able to make adjustments to our defense in the last part of the fourth quarter when it counted most. We can’t assume we’ve won the game just because were up 21-0,” replied Vincent Memorial Head Coach David Wong about the near Hornet comeback.