Cats and Dogs Skirmish to the End; South Hills downs Bonita, 28-21

November 21, 2009
Share this story:
Bonita Head Coach Eric Podley addresses his players moments after Bonita's tough 28-21 loss to South Hills.

Bonita Head Coach Eric Podley addresses his players moments after Bonita's tough 28-21 loss to South Hills.

The surprising Bonita Bearcats almost sent the South Hills Huskies running for the hills with a remarkable comeback that just fell short, 28-21 at Covina District Field on Friday night. The Bearcats didn’t get the win, but they gave the Huskies the fight of their lives.

At the start, the fight seemed one-sided. Just five plays into the first quarter, the Huskies’ gifted half back Geoffrey Vaughns bolted 55 yards for a touchdown to give South Hills an early 7-0 lead after the extra point was made.

For the Bearcats, Garrett Pendleton looked sharp early connecting on passes to Codey Sykes and Evan Highly before Bonita was pushed back by penalties and forced to punt.

Taking possession of the football at their own 23, South Hills marched to Bonita’s 18 before the drive stalled. The Huskies 37-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left, and at the end of the first quarter, the score remained 7-0.

In its first possession of the second quarter, Bonita could convert just one first down before being forced to punt again. This time, South Hills wouldn’t be denied. On a third down and five from its own 32, the Huskies ran an inside screen to Vaughns who streaked down the left side before he was finally driven out of bounds at the Bearcats’ 18. Finally, it was Vaughns again taking a 1-yard pitch into the end zone to make the score 14-0 after the extra point.

The Bearcats cant's catch the Huskies' Goeffrey Vaughns, who scored three touchdowns to help lead the Huskies.

The Bearcats can't catch the Huskies' Goeffrey Vaughns, who scored three touchdowns to help lead the Huskies.

Bonita did nothing in its next series, going three and out before South Hills was on the march again, looking every bit the No. 2 seed and playing up to expectations. After collecting one first down, taking the ball into Bonita territory at the 49, Vauhgns did the rest racing 49 yards for the touchdown, making the score 21-0 after the extra point.

In the next series, Bonita went three and out again before punting. But then something happened. The Bearcats forced South Hills to punt for the first time in the game, and took over at their own 40. With 1:02 remaining in the half, Pendleton found Deron Holmes on a screen pass and Holmes did the rest, carving his way down the field for a 32-yard touchdown strike to make the score 21-7 after the extra point.

Caught off guard, South Hills wobbled, and the Bonita defense got the ball right back at its own 44. But time expired, and Bonita had to be satisfied with their one first-half touchdown and the hope there was more to come in the second half.

Bonita’s first two drives of the third quarter ended with punts, but Highley’s second punt pinned the Huskies on their own 5-yard-line. After a muffed center-quarterback exchange by the Huskies, the Bearcats Erik Le Vay recovered the loose football in the end zone for six points and, Bonita, after the extra point, was back in the game, trailing just 21-14.

Bonita pinned the Huskies on their own 1-yard line.

Bonita pinned the Huskies on their own 1-yard line.

The charged-up Bonita defense held again, but the Beacats couldn’t move the ball on offense either, so it was up to the right leg of Highley to do the damage. Highley’s kick was downed at the Huskies 1-yard-line. On their first play from scrimmage, the Huskies fumbled, with the Bearcats Tyler Cortez recovering the loose pigskin at the 2. After forcing the ball up the gut with no success on two consecutive plays, a patient Pendleton, facing third and goal at the 5, looked off several receivers, before finding Josh Yepez in the back of the end zone for the touchdown with 54 seconds remaining in the third quarter. After the extra point, the score was 21-21. Game on!

However, with 10:52 in the fourth, South Hills got a 15-yard touchdown run from Jamal Hart to regain the lead 28-21. Bonita had a couple more chances on offense, but would get no closer, and South Hills ran out the clock, grateful to get out of Dodge against an opportunistic Bearcats team that was a play or two away from pulling off the upset against the powerful and highly ranked No. 2 seed.

“We made some big plays,” Podley said. “It was almost like Bearcat football of old – playing good defense and geting by on offense. We just didn’t have enough at the end. But I am very proud of our kids’ effort. “They can hold their heads high and walk off this field tonight feeling proud of their performance.

“We knew the odds were against us, but all week long our goal was, — win or lose — we wanted to walk off that field with self-respect, knowing we gave everything we had, every day at practice and during this game. That’s what they did. Our seniors, in particular, can walk off this field knowing their careers ended with a moment they can be proud of. That’s what we talked about all week, and they accomplished that goal.”

Leave a Reply