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Lightning Strikes Golden Knights

posted Mar 25, 2011, 10:27 PM by Golden Knight

St. Francis            34

West Ranch        35

By Christian Romo

10/5/10

Photo Credit: sfhs.net

A long bus ride and a 45 minute lightning delay didn’t help the Golden Knights as they fell by one point to West Ranch at Valencia High Friday night.

St.Francis quarterback Brett Nelson threw a touchdown pass to receiver Ian Hamilton with eleven seconds left to cap off a dramatic fourth quarter and put the Golden Knights within one point in line for a tie or the win. Electing to go for a two point conversion, a short pass to Nelson’s tallest target Hamilton was incomplete, though the St. Francis sideline burst with what they saw as pass interference. No flag was thrown.

The climactic ending capped off a valiant fourth-quarter comeback in which the Golden Knights outscored the Wildcats 20-7. The final St. Francis possession of the game, which took a little over a minute to complete, almost erased an uninspiring first half and a sloppy third quarter.

St. Francis once again scored on their first possession of the game, but wouldn’t reach the end zone again until the second half. The favorite Golden Knights entered halftime with a surprising, but manageable 14-7 deficit.

The underdog Wildcats roughed up the St. Francis offense for three interceptions in the second half, doubling their lead by the end of the third quarter. The Golden Knight defense that had just last week shut down the high-powered Valencia offense struggled to keep the Wildcats out of St. Francis territory. The game entered the fourth quarter with a seemingly comfortable 28-14 West Ranch lead.

The St. Francis defense held the Wildcats to multiple scoreless possessions as the Golden Knights chipped away at their lead. Running back Michael Melnick caught a 55 yard touchdown pass to make it a one-possession game, and after another defensive stop, running back Austin De Los Santos capped off a scoring drive with a 27 yard touchdown reception to tie the game at 28-28.

The West Ranch offense, which had been held in check throughout the fourth quarter, managed a successful scoring drive following the De Los Santos touchdown to once again take the lead at 35-28 with 1:14 left to play. Nelson sifted a touchdown pass to Hamilton through double coverage with 11 seconds left, but it wasn’t enough to take down the impressive Wildcat effort. The Golden Knights, who just last week experienced a confident underdog victory themselves, had the tables turned on them Friday night.

St. Francis continues its road trip in wine country at Paso Robles next Friday at 7. It will be the last game for the Golden Knights before league play and a three-game home stand.

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