Analy's ill-advised pass and long-awaited win

Posted by Staff Writer Eric Branch:
With his team trailing late its first-round playoff game at Acalanes on Friday night, Analy sophomore quarterback Jake Zanutto attempted an ill-advised pass.
It was just the type of high-degree-of-difficulty attempt that had resulted in many Zanutto’s 21 interceptions this season.
This time, however, it worked brilliantly and led the 10th-seeded Tigers’ to a 19-17 victory at No. 7 Acalanes in the North Coast Section Division III playoffs. The victory snapped Analy’s streak of four straight first-round losses and was its first postseason win since 2003.
And it was due a strong defensive effort and a 4th-and-13 attempt that Zanutto converted by scrambling left and throwing across the field to Julian Titus-Patino for a first down. A few plays later, Cooper Maloney delivered a 2-yard scoring run to cap the 12-play, 68-yard drive with 4:38 left to give Analy – at 21-19 – its first lead of the game.
“That was just the kind of throw we’ve told him not to make,” Analy coach Dan Bourdon said. “But this time it worked out pretty well.”
Zanutto, who has also thrown 21 touchdowns this season, played mistake-free after tossing 15 interceptions in Analy’s final five regular-season games. He completed 16 of 32 passes for 214 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.
And the Tigers’ defense, which limited Acalanes to one first down in the fourth quarter, played a starring role for the second straight week. A week after an upset 10-7 win over Windsor, the Tigers shut out the Dons in the second half.
The win helped Analy take the next step in a season that seemed destined to mirror 2008, Bourdon’s first as the Tigers’ head coach.
Last year, Analy started 5-0 against a soft schedule and finished the season with six straight losses. This season, the Tigers started 4-0, beating teams with a combined record of 10-31, and lost four of their next five games.
But their skid stopped against Windsor. And the comparisons to recent Analy teams ended with last week’s breakthrough victory.
“We finally got a playoff win,” Bourdon said. “All I kept hearing was ‘Analy goes to the playoffs and it’s one and done.’”
A second playoff win might be a stretch. On Saturday, the Tigers will visit second-seeded Marin Catholic (10-1), which beat Analy, 49-8, in the first round last year.
“They’ve got weapons all over the place,” Bourdon said. “But we’ve got some confidence. Our guys believe they can win. And if you have that anything can happen.”