Defense stands tall in final seconds
It all boiled down to one play, a mere 4.5 seconds on the game clock and a defense not willing to break as time expired last Friday night at Jaycee Stadium.
The Jacks needed to stop Cascade from crossing the goal line and they turned to the biggest motivation they could find – stopping the Kodiaks from extending their win streak.
“It was just pretty much pride,” said defensive end Andy Reynolds, who had on and a half sacks. “We had lost to them three times in a row.”
As Kodiak quarterback Dane Williams scrambled left and then right and dove toward the goal line, he was met by Iche Ramirez (8 tackles), Alberto Tafoya (12), Gunnar Petersen (6) and Reynolds (12). The foursome stopped him less than two feet short of the goal line and preserved the 15-9 win as time expired.
“It was just our base defense,” Ramirez said. “Our team was calm all the way through.
“We just gave everything we got, one last push.”
To take the lead, the Jacks abandoned the run and had Kaeden Murphy (pass- 3-8-54, run-12-22, TD) throw it. This led to a fourth down conversion followed by a 1-yard quarterback keeper by Murphy. The drive started with a fourth-down catch by senior wideout Johan Farias (1-23), as well as a 27-yard one-handed catch by Travis Harris (2-41).
“Our line started to block better and we got our snaps (down),” said Murphy. “It was a great catch by both of them.”
The rest of the series came on the running of Murphy and his 1-yard plunge into the end zone. But the initial call on the fourth and goal was to kick a field goal. However, after a timeout was called, coach Stephen Wallace put the ball in his junior quarterback’s hand and he followed lineman Kyle Mills across the goal line for the six-point lead.
“I wanted to run it,” said Murphy. “I tried to get Wallace to run it.”
The decision to run the ball played a big role after the ensuing kick off gave the Kodiaks the ball on the Quincy 48-yard line with 50 seconds left. The short field allowed the visitors to march the ball down inside the 10-yard line, well within field goal range. But Cascade needed a touchdown and the Quincy defense stood tall.
“We played good in the first half and loosened up in the second half,” said defensive coordinator Jon Barker.
The Jacks defense scored the first points of the game. The defense stopped the Kodiaks offense and forced a punt. The ensuing snap sailed over the Kodiak punter’s head and he had to jump on the loose ball in the end zone and Jorge Ruiz was bearing down on him. This gave Quincy a safety and 2-0 lead in the first quarter.
Unfortunately, the Jacks returned the favor on their next possession. A bad snap sailed over punter Diego Hernandez’s head and Cascade recovered the fumble and ran it in for a 6-2 lead.
The Jacks took an 8-6 lead in the second quarter after a botched punt by the Kodiaks gave them the ball on the Cascade 35-yard line. A pair of fourth-down conversions was followed by a 5-yard touchdown run by Ramirez (20-61, TD), the fullback. The kick was blocked and Quincy took an 8-6 lead heading into the half.
Cascade took a 9-8 lead on a 30-yard field what midway through the fourth quarter.
~Kurtis J. Woodfirstname.lastname@example.org