Unbelievable finish: De La Salle survives San Ramon Valley’s stunning rally to win in OT

San Ramon Valley erases a 15-point deficit in final four minutes but falls to De La Salle

DANVILLE, IN — Anyone who witnessed what happened on Friday night between De La Salle and San Ramon Valley will never forget it.

The fourth quarter was crazy, zany, and incredible.

It ended with San Ramon Valley missing a 36-yard field goal with 5.1 seconds left that would have broken a tie and ended De La Salle’s 32-year unbeaten streak against North Coast Section opponents, trailing by 15 points with less than four minutes to play.

After SRV failed to score on its possession in overtime, Derrick Blanche ran across the goal line for the game-winning touchdown, a 6-yard run that gave De La Salle a stunning 33-27 victory.

“I’ve been coaching for 26, 27, years,” said DLS coach Justin Alumbaugh. “I’ve never had such a quarter. Everyone got their money’s worth in this place, which was packed. Tonight, there was a lot of tenacity on both sides of the field.”

“One of the wildest ones that I’ve been a part of,” SRV coach Aaron Becker said. It went from being over by all rites to suddenly being in it.”

The Wolves led 12-7 entering the fourth quarter after Marco Jones — who had an outstanding game on both defense and offense — stripped the ball from a DLS runner 8 yards from the end zone and Dylan Deitsch recovered.

However, the low-scoring, defensive battle ended quickly.

After Trisshon Wright intercepted a pass to give DLS (5-2) the ball at the 30 yard line, quarterback Toa Faavae avoided Jones’ pressure in the backfield and launched a deep pass to Johnathan Guererro, who was wide open in the middle of the field after the defender fell down.

DLS took a 13-12 lead on Guererro’s 70-yard touchdown reception. (The two-point attempt failed).

On the Spartans’ next offensive play, Luke Baker’s pass was deflected off of his receiver and into the arms of defensive back Jayden Nicholas, who ran 19 yards into the end zone to increase the Spartans’ lead to 20-12.

When Faavae scored on a 12-yard run around the right end to make it 27-12 with 5:08 left, fans on the SRV side began to flee.

But the home team wasn’t done yet.

Baker, who scrambled for huge gains all night, ran for 47 yards to the DLS 14 on fourth-and-5.

With 3:24 remaining, the quarterback rushed for 11 yards and then threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Zack Dodson to cut the deficit to 27-19.

The ensuing onside kick was deflected by a DLS player, resulting in a mad scramble. SRV (6-1) claimed it had recovered, but the referee ruled it was DLS’s ball.

The call was then reversed after a brief meeting among the officials.

With 3:08 remaining, SRV took over at the DLS 45.

Baker, who had 179 yards rushing and 191 yards passing, scrambled for 13 yards to the 32. He then completed an 8-yard pass to Jones. After two more scrambles, the senior completed a 6-yard pass to Evan Economos, bringing SRV within two points.

With 1:43 remaining, the Wolves ran a reverse to Owen Scott, who dived into the end zone to tie the game at 27-27.

Bedlam on the SRV bench.

“It’s easy to give up to De La Salle when you’re down two scores,” Baker told reporters. “Things did not go as planned. Return the ball, down a point. Pick-six on the first play, tipped ball. Take the number eight. The following drive, we punted and scored two touchdowns. We lacked momentum.

“It feels like the game is over. People are evacuating. I am extremely proud of the guys. We were able to connect some long drives. “I’m so proud of my guys for their tenacity and mental toughness.”

DLS fumbled after SRV tied the game, and the home team recovered at the visitor’s 43 with 47.4 seconds left.

The Wolves advanced to the 19 before sending out their field-goal team with 9.1 seconds remaining.

DLS requested a timeout.

“We wanted to line them up in a specific situation where we thought we could pressure the kicker a little bit,” Alumbaugh said in an interview. “Get them thinking a little bit.”

The kick went wide left.

Another field-goal attempt in overtime that would have given SRV the lead went wide to the right.

DLS began its overtime possession, like SRV, 25 yards from the end zone. Blanche scored between the tackles from 6 yards out as the Spartans ran four plays, all on the ground.

“A classic high school game,” Blanche commented. “That’s a great team, a really good team.” We had to rely on our previous efforts and persevere until the end.”

When the game ended with Blanche’s touchdown, the running back exclaimed, “That is the best feeling in the world.” That sensation is indescribable.”

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