Running back Leigh As Leigh outlasts Overfelt, Shayan Shariat finishes the game at quarterback.
SAN JOSE, Calif. — After taking a big hit in the third quarter with the game on the line, Leigh quarterback Tyler Donaldson had to be helped off the field.
To that point, the game had been a classic run vs. pass battle, with Overfelt’s ground and pound attack out of an ultra-compressed double wing facing off against Leigh’s quick-strike aerial display. With Donaldson out and Leigh’s backup quarterback out with a concussion, wide receiver Carter Williams took over at quarterback.
That is, until he became injured and was forced to leave the game.
With no more quarterbacks available, the Longhorns had to improvise, sending a direct snap to running back Shayan Shariat and simply powering it up the middle.
Shariat’s 2-yard touchdown run with 2:33 remaining provided breathing room, extending the lead to two scores. and Leigh won by a score of 23-14.
“Our game plan this week was to just pass the ball, pass the ball,” Shariat said in a statement. “Once our quarterback went out we had to overcome adversity.”
Donaldson completed 12 of 18 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns before leaving the game with a leg injury on a roughing the passer call.
“He had a great game before he got hurt,” said Leigh coach Kyle Padia. “We have a great JV team, and we’ll bring up Charlie Lyon, the quarterback.”
Donaldson scored twice in the first half, once on a 7-yard pass to Williams and once on a 48-yard heave down the right sideline to Ben Vernell. At halftime, Leigh had 14 points on only 12 offensive plays.
Overfelt also had 14 points at the half, albeit in a very different way. The Royals had three possessions in the first 14 minutes, 17, and 19. Over the first two quarters, they ran 50 plays, which has to be a record — 41 runs and 9 passes. For their two touchdowns, quarterback Gabriel Martinez scored on a 1-yard run and threw a 14-yard TD pass to Walter Smith with 11 seconds left in the half.
Despite spending nearly the entire first half on the field, Leigh’s defense came alive in the third quarter, forcing three-and-outs on Overfelt’s first two second-half possessions. Cam Tchir’s 36-yard field goal gave Leigh a 17-14 lead.
“Our defense has been top of the league all year,” Padia told reporters. “They’re playing fantastically and got it done tonight.” I believe it is the result of a lot of off-season work, and iron sharpens iron against good teams. In our first five games, we faced three A-league opponents. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen big, strong men.”
Overfelt’s John Stowers, a 255-pound San Jose State commit, carried 20 times in the first half but only two more times in the second half when Overfelt only had 18 offensive snaps.
“We had horrible field position,” Overfelt coach Carlo Maningo said of the team’s two second-half possessions, which began inside its own 5-yard line. “It’s difficult to get going; we had to play conservatively.” We didn’t play to our potential after Leigh made a second-half adjustment. Leigh has been performing admirably this season. They were more deserving than we were.”
Stowers finished with 75 yards on the ground. Javier Mendoza tacked on 69 yards on 12 carries. Overfelt was sacked by Jerome Cruz, and Leigh was sacked by Jonathan Blanchard.
Leigh (6-2, 3-0) maintained its lead in the BVAL Santa Teresa-Valley Division with two games remaining, at Sobrato and at Westmont. Overfelt (4-4, 1-2) still has home games against Mt. Pleasant and Sobrato.