Friday, September 29, 2017
San Mateo High School
BEARCAT COMEBACK FALLS SHORT
The San Mateo Bearcats rallied furiously after spotting the Jefferson Grizzlies leads of 17-0 and 31-14 but could not quite complete the comeback to spoil Jefferson’s homecoming game Friday night. The Grizzlies prevailed 31-27 in both team’s opening game in PAL Lake Division play. San Mateo came into the game with several key injuries causing the coaching staff to make considerable changes to the lineup on both sides of the ball. Down several starters and twice down by 17 points, many teams might have phoned it in. The Bearcats would not go away however and with 2 minutes left in the 4th quarter they were in a position to win the game.
Jefferson struck early after it looked like the Bearcats were getting the fast start. On the 2nd play of the game, Gui Pains picked of a Grizzly pass to give San Mateo the ball near midfield. However on the Bearcats first offensive play, a Jose Ontiveros swing pass intended for Galo Reyes was intercepted for a pick six to open the scoring for Jefferson. On the Grizzlies’ next possession they drove inside the 10 of San Mateo but the Bearcat defense stiffened and JHS had to settle for a field goal to lead 10-0 after one quarter. Jefferson scored again in the second minute of the 2nd quarter to open the lead to 17-0 beginning a scoring spree from both teams. The Bearcats finally got on the board with a 28-yard passing TD from Ontiveros to Gui Pains to close the gap to 17-6 but they failed to convert the extra point. Jefferson answered immediately on a 22 yard run by Aaron Cruz for a 24-6 advantage. Then it was back to San Mateo who scored on a punishing 23 yard run by Jole Fajava, seeing his first action of the season and breaking tackle after tackle on the play. He followed that up with two-point conversion, bullying his way into the end zone and bringing the Bearcats to within 14 with about 2 minutes to play in the half. But the Bearcat defense could not hold the Grizzlies in check. JHS started their drive with 3 consecutive pass plays to the left side netting gains of 10-12 yards each time. They ended the drive with another TD run by Cruz from the 14 with 10 seconds to play to take a 31-14 halftime lead.
Neither team scored in the third period but San Mateo did look to be finding their game and was standing on the Jefferson one-yard line with a third and goal to open the 4th quarter. Ontiveros took it in from there on a quarterback keeper and the Bearcats were given new life having narrowed the margin to 10 points at 31-21 with nearly a full quarter to play. In addition to the Bearcat defense shutting Jefferson down for the entire 2nd half, the Grizzlies seemed to suddenly be in a giving mood. On the next Jefferson possession George Kauatai recovered a Grizzly fumble at the JHS 37. Three minutes later Ontiveros completed a 5 yard TD pass to Matt Angel to bring the Bearcats within 4. It was Angel’s first action of the season after recovering from a pre-season shoulder injury. He is the backup QB to Ontiveros and was filling in this night at TE for the injured Jake Jeffries. Angel made a spectacular one handed grab just before stepping out of the back of the end zone. A bad exchange on the point after however kept the Bearcats 4 points behind and the miscue came back to haunt them.
Jefferson was forced to punt on their next possession and Kevin Grant, who made several nice kick returns on the night, retuned this one about 25 yards. A Grizzly personal foul at the end of the runback gave San Mateo first down on the Jefferson 30. The Bearcats drove down within the 10 but were facing a 4th and 7 at the Jefferson 9 with a little over 4 minutes to play. Trailing by 4 instead of 3, Coach Jeff Scheller was forced to go for it rather than attempt a field goal, but an Ontiveros pass was batted down back to him giving Jefferson the ball back at their 25. Two bad snaps by Jefferson on their next possession forced a 3 and out and San Mateo was given one final chance with 2 minutes to play from the Jefferson 40. The Grizzly defense stepped up again. On third down Ontiveros was hit as he was attempting a pass, the ball popped in the air and was caught by a Jefferson defender. With no time outs remaining the play put an end to San Mateo’s comeback hopes.
The Bearcats’ first loss of the season puts them at 4-1 on the year. They return home next Friday night to face a tough opponent in Carlmont who is undefeated at 5-0 and features one of the best running attacks in CCS.