What a comeback! Campolindo erases 14-point deficit in fourth quarter, stuns Acalanes

Campo scores 15 unanswered points to capture a share of DAL Foothill title with Acalanes and Las Lomas

LAFAYETTE — “One more week,” they chanted. Another week.”

They celebrated sophomore hero Micah Parker, the running back who scored the game-winning touchdown.

They broke a rival’s heart while presumably extending their season into the section playoffs next week.

The Campolindo Cougars rallied from two touchdowns down in the fourth quarter to defeat host Acalanes 25-24, tying the Diablo Athletic League Foothill Division championship between these two teams and Las Lomas.

If Acalanes had won, it would have been the Lafayette school’s first outright league title in 42 years.

But it wasn’t to be after Scott Lyon caught Isaiah Ortiz’s two-point conversion pass after Parker’s 23-yard touchdown run with 2:53 remaining.

Mack Fisher, a junior transfer from De La Salle, sealed the victory with an interception near midfield with 1:08 remaining in the game, eliciting a sea of red in the visiting stands.

“We needed that for so many reasons, for our team, our program, and our school,” said Campo coach Kevin Macy. “You can see the difference in talent between them and us. But our kids only know how to fight, grind, and hang out. We don’t have anything fancy, but we’re not going to give up.”

When it was over, Campo students stormed the field, exchanging hugs and smiles with the players, with Macy pulling out his phone and filming himself to commemorate the victory.

With 6:10 remaining in the third quarter, Campo trailed 24-10 when Sully Bailey launched a deep pass that track star Paul Kuhner chased down for an over-the-shoulder 54-yard reception.

Acalanes appeared to have committed a turnover after a poor snap on a punt resulted in an incomplete pass. However, Campo was penalized for a “disconcerting act” near the line of scrimmage, giving Acalanes five yards and a first down at its own 46.

Kuhner scored his second touchdown of the game one play later. He scored on a 57-yard punt return in the first quarter, giving Acalanes a 14-7 lead.

Acalanes (6-4, 5-1) led by 14 points after the third-quarter touchdown reception until Campo went on a 52-yard, 12-play touchdown drive that ended with Ortiz scoring on a 1-yard sneak with 7:34 left.

Ortiz attributed his comeback to Macy.

“He’s just a legend,” said the quarterback. “He’s been putting it in our hearts and minds for an entire year.” We’re playing this arduous, monotonous brand of football. Simply running with the ball. Aca doesn’t like it, and we were planning on doing it all game.”

After Ortiz’s touchdown, Campo (7-2-1, 5-1) forced a three-and-out punt and took over at its 41 with 5:09 remaining.

Parker carried the Cougars to victory after Macy put the ball in his hands. He ran 11 yards to the Acalanes 48-yard line. He ran 22 yards to the 24 yard line.

He charged across the goal line from 23 yards out two snaps later to cut the deficit to 24-23.

“You just keep grinding,” Parker advised. “Coach said all week that we’d have to grind this game out. “Bore them to death.”

Macy called timeout with 2:53 remaining after Parker’s touchdown.

The coach sent out his offense instead of kicker Egor Dobrolyubov, who made a 47-yard field goal in the first half.

“We didn’t think we’d score with that much time,” she said. “We’ve already decided that if we strike, we’ll go for two.” Then we scored, giving them enough time to recover the ball. Everyone was debating whether we should take the one. ‘No, no, no,’ I said. We stated that we would go for two.”

Ortiz completed the two-point play by hitting Lyon in the right corner of the end zone.

Campo was ahead 25-24.

Lyon stated that the team worked on the play all week in practice and even ran it again before boarding the bus for the game.

“After that, I knew if we had the opportunity to win the game with the two-pointer, we were going to go for it and we were going to get it,” he said. “I can’t describe the feeling that I have right now.”

Acalanes got to 41 on its last possession. But on first down, Fisher made the game-winning interception near the Campo sideline.

Fisher had almost intercepted a pass a few plays before.

Frustrated, he sought encouragement from team captain and safety James Giordani. Fisher didn’t waste the second chance that came his way.

“It was amazing,” he exclaimed.

It was a crushing end to what had been a dominant league season for Acalanes.

Kuhner and Trevor Rogers, the Dons’ track stars, both scored touchdowns. Rogers’ 39-yard field goal just before halftime extended their lead to 17-10.

Campo, like last season, celebrated at the end.

“We just didn’t score enough on offense and they had a great sophomore running back,” Rogers went on to say.

Campo should advance to the North Coast Section Division I playoffs with the win. Acalanes is expected to get a good seed in the section’s Division IV bracket.

The pairings will be revealed on Sunday.

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