Game of the Week: St. Augustine 14, El Camino 7
Playing against a quality opponent in their home stadium during the playoffs is tough; playing in the playoffs while a teammate battles cancer is a far tougher battle.
Despite their best efforts, the El Camino Wildcats fell one score short of the CIF championships, as Beau Gallegos threw a game-ending interception to Jacob Baker as the St. Augustine Saints gutted out a tough 14-7 win in the CIF Division I semifinals.
It was truly a battle of two quarters at Mesa College, as a slow and steady fog made its way onto the field before the start of the game, making the first quarter a battle for the players and the fans. A scoreless first quarter looked like it would lead to a scoreless first half, until a 78-yard pass from Thomas Goodridge to Jacob Baker would set up junior Elijah Preston for a 3-yard touchdown run. An errant point after resulted in a 6-0 lead that would last into the fourth quarter.
As has often been the case this season, success for the Saints was found on the ground. After a 33-yard Preston run and a 17-yard Goodridge-to-Zach Totah pass and catch, Preston would score touchdown number two from two yards out. A two point conversion insured that the Wildcats would need two touchdowns to tie and force overtime.
The following El Camino drive was fueled by the arm (and legs) of quarterback Beau Gallegos, whose scrambling ability kept the drive alive and let him run in a touchdown of his own to cut the Saints’ lead to 14-7. Following a punt on the ensuing St. Augustine possession, the Wildcats would have a chance to tie the game.
Two key passes to Anthony Taele (10 yards and 23 yards on 3rd and 19) brought the drive within the Saints’ five yard line. But after two costly procedure penalties and consecutive Gallegos incompletions, the game would come down to the final play, which resulted in a Jacob Baker interception in the end zone.
St. Augustine (7-5) advances to the CIF Division I championship game next Friday night at Southwestern College, where they will take on the Madison Warhawks. El Camino ends the year at 7-6.