Analy upsets Healdsburg, 16-14

Healdsburg's Max Opperman picks up a first down on a quarterback keeper against Analy Friday night. (Scott Manchester / PD).By BOB PADECKY

PRESS DEMOCRAT

SEBASTOPOL – On the sidelines, with 4.2 seconds left in the game Friday night, the Analy players who weren’t on the field were lined up next to each other, holding hands, a sign of unity and hope with maybe a little prayer thrown in there as well.

Hey, Analy was trying to hold on to beat mighty Healdsburg, undefeated Healdsburg, and if it took a prayer and a hug and maybe even a closed eye or two, well, the Tigers would take anything to get through those last 4.2 seconds.

With the tick of the clock that probably sounded like a sonic boom to those anxious for time to expire, Healdsburg quarterback Max Opperman threw a Hail Mary – and his prayer wasn’t answered. The pass covered 50 yards, about five yards past anyone, into the end zone, and Analy had the upset that only a week ago looked remote. The Tigers beat Healdsburg, 16-14, in one of those signature games that won’t be soon forgotten.

Last week Analy lost to Windsor, 6-3, looking unimpressive to say the least but Friday night was such an impactful victory, the Tigers are now 4-2 with an immediate legacy. They now know they can play with anyone.

“They played better than us,” said Healdsburg coach Tom Kirkpatrick. “They outplayed us.”

The Greyhounds had been averaging 38 points a game but they spent much of the game looking at their mistakes, not at the end zone. They lost a fumble on the Analy 13 late in the first quarter. They had a first and 10 at the Analy 20 near the end of the half but couldn’t stay close enough to even attempt a field goal. Two Healdsburg penalties and a Analy sack drove the Greyhounds all the way back to their own 45.

After a scoreless first half Analy wasn’t going to wait around to see what Healdsburg was going to do next.

Analy quarterback Jake Zanutto completed only 6-of-18 passes in the first half for 62 yards. He clearly wasn’t in his rhythm, missing wide open receivers, feeling Healdsburg’s pass rush. But in the third quarter Zanutto found his greased groove, completing 10-of-14 passes for 170 yards.

Zanutto scored the game’s first touchdown with a one-yard run in the third quarter, that coming after a drive in which he completed four of five passes for 75 yards. Healdsburg’s Gerardo Cervantes, on the ensuing kickoff, busted one for 91 yards to tie the game. Zanutto came back two series later and threw a 29-yard touchdown to Aaron Maher. All but five of the 80 yards that produced the touchdown were achieved on Zanutto’s passes.
Omar Galvan followed with a 36-yard field goal with 3:46 left in the game. The 16-7 looked solid and unapproachable. But Healdsburg came back with Carson Seanor ending a 65-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown. Kyle Lewis, called up from the Analy junior varsity three weeks ago, caught the onside kick with 1:55 left. As if that would end it.

It didn’t. Analy was forced to punt with 43.9 seconds left. Healdsburg had the ball on its own 11. Too much distance and too little time to launch a real threat? Nope.

Opperman hit Malcolm Beltran with a 39-yarder, setting up the last play of the game from the Analy 45.

Opperman’s pass was long and Analy’s players rushed onto the field as if they just won a bowl game. Several

Healdsburg players were on their knees, staring straight into the ground, disbelieving. They were no longer undefeated.

“Beating Acalanes last year was a big victory,” said Analy coach Dan Bourdon, “but this was right up there.”

For more on North Bay sports go to Bob Padecky’s blog at padecky.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Bob Padecky at 521-5223 or bob.padecky@pressdemocrat.com.