A winning streak had to end for one of the teams in the Northern California Football Conference American Division championship game in Reedley on Saturday afternoon.
In a contest that featured seven lead changes, DeAnza used a 1-yard touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Eduardo Andrade and the ensuing extra point kick by freshman kicker Ozzy Ortiz with seven seconds remaining to edge Reedley College 42-41.
Andrade was named the game's Most Valuable Player.
Both teams finished conference champions with 10-1 records. DeAnza recorded 10 straight wins after a 10-point loss to the Tigers on Sept. 1 in the season opener. The loss ended a 10-game winning streak for Reedley.
The deciding touchdown drive started after the first of two lost Reedley fumbles in the final 15 minutes. Reedley had taken a 41-28 lead on a 31-yard touchdown run by Jamon Chambers.
The game also featured seven touchdowns of 30 yards or more. But the final two DeAnza scores came from 11 and 1 yards out.
The two teams combined for 1,048 yards of total offense, 525 by the Tigers. Reedley quarterback Randall R.Johnson completed 19 of 28 passes for 336 yards and four touchdowns, giving the Golden Coast Conference offensive player of year 2,832 passing yards and 28 touchdown passes. Reedley is third in the state, averaging 484.5 yards of offense per game.
Reedley took a 27-21 lead into the halftime locker room. The second quarter featured three touchdowns in a span of just 33 seconds. The first of those scores came on a 1-yard run by Andrade, which capped a 75-yard, 16-play drive that took 6:50 off the clock. Reedley answered 15 seconds later on a 60-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to sophomore Britavious Garcia (Augusta, GA). Garcia sped away from a DeAnza tackler at the Don 45 en route to the end zone.
After a holding penalty moved the Dons to their own 13, DeAnza answered with an 87-yard scoring pass from Andrade to Cortland Brooks at the 9:12 mark.
Reedley used a double pass play to take the lead as wide receiver Mason Layton connected with Daniel Baca for a 30-yard score with 6:37 left in the half.
Only three of the seven scheduled Northern California playoff games were played due to poor air quality from the Camp Fire in Butte County. One game is scheduled for this Saturday while three others are scheduled for Dec. 1.
"We got some bad breaks," said Golden Coast Conference coach of the Year Eric Marty. "We've got to make the plays. We fumbled the ball twice in the fourth quarter and that's how you lose football games."
The coach said it was all really unfortunate. "There were the things we've done all year, take care of the ball and play good special teams. There were those mistakes and we didn't get any help down the stretch."
"I'm really proud of the season our guys have had," added Marty. "We were a good enough team to win this game. We just couldn't finish it."
By Will Goldbeck