“This one hurt,” Bonita head coach Adrian Medrano said moments after watching his Bearcats fall to the Santa Fe Springs Chiefs on a chilly Friday night at Glenn Davis stadium in La Verne.
The “one” was the one-point, 11-10 loss that sent Bonita reeling out of the first-round of the CIF playoffs.
Bonita had almost pulled out it. With 2:19 left in the fourth quarter and needing only a field goal to win, Bonita took over on its own 39-yard-line and got the ball to the Chiefs’ 40. On fourth-and-eight, quarterback Tanner Diebold stepped back to pass. Just when it appeared he was going to be crushed by two Chiefs’ defenders, he stepped up into the pocket and released his best pass of the night, a 40-yard bullet into the end zone to a streaking Victor Magallanes who couldn’t quite corral it. With that, the Chiefs ran out the clock to preserve the precious victory.
Bonita had taken a 10-3 lead into the locker room. That was the good news. The bad news was that Medrano had to play the entire second half without his two top running backs, Reggie Turner and Shane Pitts.
Both teams didn’t score in the third quarter, but at the start of the final period, pinned deep in Bonita territory, punter Brandt Davis was sacked for a safety, making the score 10-5 Bonita.
After the free kick, Santa Fe Springs took over on its own 43. On third-and-11 from the 42, Robert Campos reeled in a short pass from quarterback Chris Macilla, broke a couple tackles and raced down the northern sideline and into the end zone to give the Chiefs an 11-10. They missed the two-point try.
For the next 11 minutes neither team would score. Both teams slugged it out defensively. On one series, riding the hard-running of Angel Verdugo, Bonita punched it down to the Chiefs’ 34-yard line, but on fourth-and-one, the team couldn’t get that one extra yard.
The Chiefs got on the board first, courtesy of a 32-yard field goal by Eddie Mendez at the end of the first quarter. Midway through the second, Bonita responded when Christian McQueen blocked a Chiefs’ punt, setting up the Bearcats on the Chiefs’ 14-yard-line. One play later, Pitts bolted into the end zone with a touchdown. Near the end of the half, Davis booted a 30-yarder to push the Bearcats’ lead to 10-3. The kick was also the 33rd of Davis’ career matching him with CIF legends Luis Zendejas and Chris Sailer.
If Bonita had been able to complete one more play downfield late in the fourth, Davis might have had a chance to kick the game winner and stand alone in the CIF Southern Section record books, but it wasn’t meant to be for Davis or the Bearcats.
“This one hurt.”