Playoff thriller: San Ramon Valley loses 21-point lead, beats Campo in OT

Matthew Garibaldi’s touchdown run in overtime is the difference as SRV advances to play De La Salle for NCS Open title

DANVILLE – The pass hung in the back corner of the end zone long enough for both sides’ hearts to sink.

Campolindo receiver Joe Revelos took a desperate leap in the hopes of making a touchdown catch that would extend the overtime period and possibly his team’s season.

However, Dylan Deitsch of San Ramon Valley knocked the ball away while teammate Henry Ellis defended Revelos.

Late Friday night, SRV players and coaches raised or attempted to raise their arms in triumph, while Campo players dropped to the ground.

Second-seeded San Ramon Valley beat seventh-seeded Campolindo 38-31 in overtime in an epic first-round playoff game in the North Coast Section’s top division.

The Wolves (10-1) will face top-seeded De La Salle at Dublin High next Friday for the Open Division championship and a spot in a NorCal regional. The loser will compete for the NCS Division I championship in two weeks.

Campolindo’s season is over, but only after the Cougars (7-3-1) fought hard against an opponent they edged in a Division II semifinal two years ago and lost to in the Division II final last year.

“They’re a really good team that came ready to play,” SRV quarterback Luke Baker said after passing for 206 yards and one touchdown. “They’re a scrappy group.” It’s playoff time. A victory is a victory.”

This one appeared to be over in the first quarter, as SRV looked like a heavyweight, roaring to a 21-0 lead.

Matthew Garibaldi, who scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime on a 14-yard run, started the game with a 21-yard run up the middle. He rushed for 123 yards on 18 attempts and caught six passes for 79 yards.

Following a turnover, Baker connected with Danny Drucker for a 17-yard touchdown pass.

SRV led 21-0 with 1:46 left before the start of the second quarter when Kevin Spears returned an interception 59 yards for a touchdown.

Coach Kevin Macy of Campo, an outspoken critic of the NCS’s competitive equity system that placed his team in the Open/Division I bracket, appeared to be the wisest man on the field.

The Cougars were outmatched for one quarter.

But then they did what they always do: they lied. They fought and fought.

Campo got on the board thanks to Egor Dobrolyubov’s field goal. Isaiah Ortiz responded with a 53-yard touchdown pass to Revelos, cutting the deficit to 21-10. Ortiz passed for 309 yards and three touchdowns.

After intercepting a pass, SRV receiver Owen Scott took a knee to the head while attempting to tackle a Campo defender.

In a terrifying moment, SRV coaches rushed to the field to be with the motionless player, requesting that the ambulance parked beyond one of the end zones rush out to the field.

Scott eventually rose and was assisted to the bench. He never returned.

“I think when Owen went out, it took the wind out of our sails for a second,” Becker told me. “They took advantage of the momentum swing.” Give them some credit. They’ve been well-coached. They played hard and took us all the way to the end.”

After Antonios-McCrea’s interception, Campo drove 36 yards for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 21-17. The touchdown was set up by Ortiz’s 4-yard pass to Scott Lyon on third down.

Austin Shelton of SRV made a short field goal just before halftime to make the score 24-17. But it was clear by then that this game would be anything but one-sided.

Campo opened the second half with an 80-yard touchdown drive that ended when Ortiz connected with Revelos on third-and-seven from 14 yards out.

This brought the score to 24-24.

The rest of the half was a defensive slugfest, with neither team breaking the tie until Mack Fisher intercepted a pass and raced down the sideline, the 65-yard pick-six giving Campo a 31-24 lead with 5:31 left.

“That’s what they’re known for; we don’t quit,” she said. “They continue to fight. We did everything in our power. We couldn’t have done anything else.”

SRV responded with a 1-yard touchdown run by Marco Jones with 1:18 remaining to tie the game at 31-31, but Campo made one final charge to try to settle the outcome before overtime.

Ortiz’s 47-yard pass to Tim Daugherty moved the Cougars to the SRV 36.

Campo eventually attempted a 44-yard field goal that fell short, the Cougars’ second missed field goal of the game.

Garibaldi started the overtime period with an 11-yard run to the 14. He ran across the goal line on the next snap, giving SRV the lead.

“It took everyone,” said Garibaldi. “It took everyone’s effort, offense and defense, and especially the line.” “I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Campo was unable to respond on its overtime possession, with Deitsch intercepting its final pass from the 22 in the end zone.

The Wolves made it. Barely.

“We could have definitely given up after that pick-six, a couple of unfortunate events that didn’t go our way,” Jones told ESPN. “But we have a lot of high-spirited guys.” We stayed in it because we knew we could win.”

They’ll get another crack at De La Salle, who beat SRV in overtime last month.

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