The Big Pine Warriors held on in nail-biting overtime against the Trona Tornadoes Friday night to stay undefeated at 5-0 for the season.
The Warriors pulled ahead in the final seconds for the 35-34 win, redeeming Big Pine after last year’s loss to Trona in the last play of the game.
“This is a game the boys will never forget,” said coach Mark Tillemans. “We really went through all the extremes of high and low.
“It was a real character-builder. We learned a lot of lessons. We can’t come out flat, we have to play four quarters.”
It took Big Pine three quarters to really get into the game, turning over the ball four times on fumbles. Despite the Warriors’ flat play, the score at half-time was tied 14-14; Big Pine went down by a touchdown in the third quarter.
The Warriors faced a 14-point deficit with just seven minutes left in the fourth quarter.
With a no-huddle spread offense, Big Pine made a quick drive into the end zone. A two-point conversion brought the score within six points at 22-28.
On their next possession, the Warriors executed a good drive, but a penalty forced quarterback Isaiah Bacoch to go for the Hail Mary deep into Trona territory. His prayer went unanswered.
With three minutes on the game clock and Trona in possession of the ball, the Warriors defense stepped up again, reclaiming the ball with 1:30 on the clock.
The offensive line gave Bacoch plenty of time to find his target. With one time out and the hurry-up offense, the Warriors drove to the Trona 25 on 4th and 10. Bacoch hit Jesse Chirrick on the 10-yardline for the first. A quick slant was called for Nick Santiago who threaded the needle between the safety and outside back for a game-tying touchdown with only 10 seconds on the clock.
The Warriors’ kicking team lined up for a a successful PAT but the ball was deemed non-dead because of an off-sides call. The second kick between the goal posts didn’t count either: Trona’s defense pulled Big Pine off-sides. The third kick was not the charm. Trona’s coach called a time-out after the ball was snapped and the officials recognized the T/O. Trona blocked the fourth kick, sending the game into overtime.
“We felt comfortable going into overtime,” said Tillemans. “We were dominating the game, out-hitting a hard-hitting Trona team.”
Trona scored on the second play of OT from the Warriors’ 14-yard line but failed on a two-point conversion.
The Warriors answered with a fly sweep to the right by Santiago. On the next play, Suma Davis plowed up the middle to tie the game at 34-34. Bacoch made the PAT for the win.
Isaiah Bacoch, QB: 12 for 23, 239 yards and 1 TD
Suma Davis: 9 carries for 23 yards and 2 TDs, 23 tackles
Nick Santiago: 12 carries for 104 yards, 6 receptions for 154 yards and 1 TD, 7 tackles
Tyler Amisone: 5 carries for 25 yards and 2 TDs, 2 receptions for 42 yards, 21 tackles
Jesse Chirrick: 4 receptions for 43 yards, 9 tackles
Colton Carrington: 19 tackles
Ronnie Dena: 11 tackles
David Barlow: 5 tackles
Ryan Carrington: 7 tackles