El Mo victory was first for team in nine years
The varsity football Lions erased nine years of frustration on Friday in the 55th edition of the Golden Apple Bowl, using a punishing running game and a solid defensive effort to turn back the Tigers, 39-24.
The victory was the first for the Lions in the rivalry since 2010, and trimmed the overall series lead for Analy to 31-24.
Following the game, a euphoric El Molino crowd stormed Karlson Field in a wild celebration, as the Lions hoisted the coveted apple trophy in a ritual that seemed out of reach for many years.
“It’s a big win for the guys because of the game that it is,” victorious El Mo head coach Randy Parmeter said. “We talked a lot about getting above .500 (for the season) and we have, so overall, it was a very good win for us.”
Led by junior quarterback Weston Lewis, the Lions churned up 360 yards rushing, including 171 and a pair of touchdowns for Lewis and 187 and a score for senior running back Jalen Hall.
Big play Lions
El Molino got the crowd into the game early when Lewis led a drive resulting in a touchdown run from Hall for an early 7-0 lead. The Tigers clawed back when quarterback Gavin Allingham connected with all-purpose back Trent Vogel on a scoring strike, cutting the deficit to 7-6. The Lions came right back early in the second quarter when receiver Cole Van Stone hauled in an acrobatic catch in the corner of the end zone to make it 13-6 Lions at the end of one. The teams traded touchdowns in an exciting second quarter, Analy’s coming on a scoring catch and run by Kaden Fox. But a pair of failed PAT attempts by the Tigers helped keep the Lions up 20-18 at the half.
The game turned dramatically for the Lions early in the third quarter, when Analy’s drive to the El Mo one-yard line came up empty. Two more subsequent drives for the Tigers resulted in no points. Lions receiver Jackson Dunkle made arguably the offensive play of the game, breaking several tackles on a spectacular touchdown catch and run.
The Lions would put the game away in the final period with another pair of scores, the dagger coming late in the contest on a 12-yard pick-six from star linebacker Colman Hayes. The two-touchdown deficit proved too much for the Tigers to overcome as El Molino hung on for a 39-24 victory.
“It was a hard fought game between two pretty evenly matched teams,” Analy head coach James Foster said. “They just had a few more plays come out their way, which made the difference.”
In addition to Lewis and Hall, other offensive standouts for El Molino were receivers Jackson Dunkle (3-57 yards, TD) and Cole Van Stone (2-18 yards).
Defensively, the Lions got a Herculean effort from senior linebacker Colman Hayes, who was in on 13 tackles (5 solo, 8 assisted) and made the defensive play of the game with a game-clinching pick-six in the fourth quarter. Other defensive standouts for El Molino were Soul Berna (3 tackles, 7 assists), Ethan Ransome (2, 2), Ben Gonzalez (1, 4), Dawson Drew (1, 3, sack), Van Stone (2, 1), Ryan Palmer (2 tackles), Hall (2 tackles), Dunkle (1, 2), David Estrada (1, 2, sack), Erik Dimond (2 assists), Logan Woolsey (assist, fumble recovery) and one assist each from Anthony Pacheco, Gabe Wallace and DJ Ramalia.
The Tigers had their share of standouts in the game, with quarterback Gavin Allingham connecting on four touchdown passes. On the receiving end of the scoring tosses were Trent Vogel (2), Nick Kraemer and Kaden Fox. Receiver Kolby Elledge also had a stellar night catching passes. Defensively, Gary Gritsch had an interception for the Tigers.
The Tigers (1-3) will close out the pre-league schedule this Friday, Sept. 27 when they visit Piner in a 7 p.m. varsity kickoff. The Lions (3-2) will enjoy a bye this week before kicking off the league season on Oct. 4 at Santa Rosa.