NCS playoffs: Middletown falls short against Salesian 21-13

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Salesian scored with 3:26 left on the clock and then held off a last-minute drive by Middletown to win Friday night’s Division 5 semifinal game 21-13.

Following the Pride’s go-ahead touchdown, host Middletown got the ball back twice. The first time, the Mustangs fumbled but then got another chance with a minute left.

Middletown marched into Salesian territory and got to the 15-yard line, from where quarterback Josiah Amos threw three incomplete passes.

Austin Benson got the home team on the scoreboard first with a 40-yard run in the first quarter. The point after was no good.

De’Angelo Hernandez brought Salesian back with a 9-yard-run, but the extra point failed.

Brad Beckwith ran the second-half kickoff back 40 yards to give the Mustangs good field position and the running back capped off the scoring drive with a 2-yard run. Almon Lichtendahl kicked the extra point.

Salesian answered later in the period on a one-yard run by Galuega Toailoa. The extra point split the goal posts and the score was 13-13 heading to the fourth quarter.

Hernandez scored what turned out to be the game-winner on a 2-yard run. Toailoa’s run for the 2-point conversion was good.

Coach Bill Foltmer gave credit to Salesian, but lamented the fact that Middletown picked a playoff game for one of its worst performances of the season.

“We made too many mistakes,” he said. “We had normally sure-handed receivers drop balls when they were wide open, and overall (we) just didn’t play our best.”

Amos completed eight passes for 122 yards and two interceptions.

Running back Benson, who came in averaging 154 yards, was held to 89 on 17 carries.

The defense gave up its season high in points. The unit came in allowing a meager four points a game.

Middletown, the No. 1 seed, finishes 10-2. Both losses were to Salesian. The first time the schools met, the Mustangs walked off the field a 21-14 winner, but the victory was taken away after it was determined Middletown had used an ineligible player.

The Pride have been the Mustangs’ nemesis in playoffs. In recent years, Salesian has eliminated Middletown in an NCS final and now two semifinals.

Salesian, the No. 5 seed, plays on with a 7-5 record.

ST. MARY’S 24, ST. HELENA 7

At St. Helena in a Division 4 game, the visitors from Berkeley scored 21 points in the first quarter, and the Saints never recovered.

On its first possession of the game, St. Mary’s on a third-and-30 ripped through the St. Helena defense for a 70-yard score.

After a blocked punt, the Panthers made it 14-0, and followed with their third touchdown late in the quarter.

“Before we blinked, it was 21-0,” Saints coach Brandon Farrell said. “We played them even after that, but we’d already let the game get away.

“They were much faster than we thought they were on both sides of the ball.”

St. Mary’s did an outstanding job containing Sebastian Segura. The running back managed 78 yards on 21 carries. Segura came into the game having gained 1,623 yards. The 180-pound senior ran for 270 yards in an opening-round win over Kelseyville.

The Saints’ lone score came on a 44-yard pass from Jack Preston to Davon Browne in the third quarter.

St. Helena, the No. 4 seed, ends the season with a 9-3 record. No. 5 St. Mary’s is now 8-4.

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