The Big Pine Warriors advance to the second round of CIF playoffs with a 34-20 win over the Calvary Baptist Cougars Saturday afternoon.
The Cougars played tough, meeting the Warriors TD for TD. With a 21-20 fourth-quarter score, Ryan Carrington’s interception turned the tide, kicking the Warriors into high gear.
“I’m very pleased with the outcome,” said coach Mark Tilleman. “The kids put themselves in this position (in the playoffs) and they came through.”
Next Saturday, the Warriors travel to Cuyama Valley to take on the Bears. “They’re a good ball club,” said Tillemans. “We have a history with them in the playoffs; we’ve been victorious on the road. We have things to work on on the defensive side, but we’ll be ready.”
Big Pine started Saturday’s game in normal Warriors fashion. Quarterback Isaiah Bacoch connected with Jesse Chirrick on a 30-yard pass play for a touchdown.
The Cougars’ offense ran into the immovable wall that is the Warriors’ defense on their first possession. A Cougars snap went high and wild; Colton Carrington recovered the loose ball, turning the ball back to the Warriors near mid-field.
Calvary Baptist got back into the game with a fumble recovery of its own, taking possession on their own 30-yardline and setting up a TD pass play, tying the score at 6-6.
Both teams’ defenses went to work into the early minutes of the second quarter. A Warriors sack turned the ball over on downs. A pass play to David Barlow put the ball into the Cougars’ Red Zone; Tyler Amisone finished the drive with a 5-yard TD run. With a successful point-after, Big Pine went ahead 13-6.
The Warriors’ onside kick set off a scramble for the ball. The Cougars nearly had it, but fumbled. When the scramble was over, Chirrick came up with the ball on Calvary Baptist’s 3-yard line, setting up the second Amisone TD. The two-point conversion to Chirrick was successful and Big Pine took a healthy 21-6 lead.
With less than four minutes left in the half, the Cougars had the ball deep in their own territory. The quarterback connected with a wide-open receiver for a 68-yard play and the second Calvary Baptist TD. After two penalty-plagued two-point conversion attempts, the third one failed, bringing the Cougars within nine points at 21-12.
The Cougars got on the scoreboard early in the third quarter with a TD from the Warriors’ 29-yardline. This time, the two-point conversion worked and Calvary Baptist pulled to within one point of Big Pine at 21-20.
The balance of the third quarter was a defensive struggle. The Cougars held the Warriors to small gains on a long possession that ended in a fumble with the Cougars recovering the ball. Back-to-back Carrington sacks turned the ball back on downs, ending the quarter with the Warriors in possession.
Heavy pressure from the Cougars’ line forced a Warriors punt. Two Calvary Baptist plays later, Ryan Carrington intercepted a pass setting up the Warriors on the Cougars’ 31-yard line. On the first play, Bacoch connected with Amisone for a 35-yard TD. Big Pine pulled ahead 28-20.
The Carrington interception and Amisone touchdown fired up the Warriors and the home crowd. With eight minutes left in the quarter, Big Pine recovered a Cougars fumble, eventually turning the ball over on downs after eating valuable time off the clock.
The defense went back to work demolishing the Cougars’ passing game. The Warriors regained possession on downs in the Cougars’ Red Zone and Amisone leapt across the goal line for his fourth and final TD, sealing the deal with a 34-20 final score.
On to round two and the Cuyama Valley Bears.