By PETER FOURNIER
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
MORAGA — Analy High football coach Daniel Bourdon said his team’s goal is to be practicing on Thanksgiving.
The No. 5 Tigers reached the Division 3 North Coast Section semifinals for the first time in school history with a 38-34 upset of No. 4-seeded Campolindo on Friday night.
“This is uncharted territory for Analy football to be in,” Bourdon said. “It’s nice to come out and execute when the game is on the line.”
The game turned into a big-play offensive shootout for the Tigers (12-0) and Cougars (10-2) in the fourth quarter.
Up by a field goal at the end of the third, Analy finished a 14-play, 70-yard drive with 9:15 left in the fourth when Tigers quarterback Darin Newman found Kerr Johnson Jr. in the end zone on third-and-goal from the 7-yard line to make it a 31-21 lead.
But the defending Division 3 champion Cougars charged back quickly on their ensuing drive. Campo drove 67 yards in six plays in less two minutes, the big strike being a 54-yard pass from Cougars’ quarterback Andrew Zolantkis to Phillip Rei that put the ball on the Tigers’ 1. John Santaguida would rush in from a yard out to bring the Analy advantage back down to three points.
The Tigers didn’t waste time bumping that advantage back to 10 points.
On the very first play of their ensuing drive, Newman found Aaron Maher on an 80-yard touchdown pass to make it 38-28 with 6:27 left in regulation.
It took Campo just 1:05 to score another touchdown, with the Cougars using two big passes from Zolintakis, the latter a 31-yard touchdown to Hunter Rosenbaum.
Then came what arguably was the play of the game. Analy’s Andrew Wollmer blocked the Campo extra point, which eliminated the field goal deficit and made it a four-point game at 38-34.
“It just makes a big difference at the end of the game,” Wollmer said. “Especially when they’re on the 25-yard line they could easily kick a field goal. It’s just a great team effort. Jacob Hicks, my guard to the right, he clears that hole for me to get through. I’ve done that three times this year and I give most of my credit to him because he clears that hole for me.”
The Tigers would go three and out on the following drive, giving the Cougars one last chance to steal the game, but Analy stopped them once they reached the red zone. On third-and-9 from the 19, Zolinatkis was sacked for a 5-yard loss, and his fourth down pass was overthrown, turning the ball over on downs.
Once the Tigers got the ball back, they handed it off three straight times to running back Kyle Lewis to run out the clock and seal the school’s trip to the North Coast Section semifinals.
“This is the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life,” Newman said. “Coming into this season, we knew we had a good team but we really hadn’t proved anything ever as a program. To beat the team that lost in the state championship last year, I don’t really know what to say. I’m lost for words.”