The Summerville High School Bears took a bite out of the Amador High School Buffalos 35-10 during their last league game Friday night at home.
Coach Sean Leveroos said that the team had qualified for playoffs, likely in third place in the league. Draws were expected Saturday about 4 p.m., he added, depending on their seeding.
“Morale is good, excitement is high. They are ready to start the third phase of the season,” he said.
Quarterback Michael Litzler said the players were now just thinking about their upcoming playoff berth.
“You just have to work for the next week for the next game,” he said. “Everyone’s got some pretty high spirits after that game.”
At the start of the game, friends and fans all sat in the stands, bundled in layers of clothing and under blue tarps to protect against the rain and cold. From the first moments, the slick, damp conditions would play a role in the matchup, with some players appearing to slip and slide on the glistening turf.
Luckily for both teams, the light rain that had drizzled over the field about an hour before the start of the game did not make a momentous return until the fourth quarter, instead falling as intermittent drips throughout most the match.
The excitement of the team was evident by the closing whistle, just as the heaviest downpour of the evening began. The rain dropped in buckets, sparking like glittering showers under the field lights. The Bears rushed to the field and slid through the turf, cheering and yelling with celebratory glee.
From the first possession, Summerville’s plays conveyed a desire to reestablish their winning ways following last week’s loss to Calaveras High School.
Bursting runs down the field brought them within scoring position, and after just five minutes, the Bears found themselves on the 1-yard line on fourth and goal. Blasting through the center of the Amador defensive line, senior running back Jared Brick put the first points on the board.
Though they were not able to gain a first down on their opening possession, Amador received an unexpected burst of momentum after snatching down a short pass from Summerville just a few plays later.
But still, the teams remained deadlocked for most of the remaining minutes of the first quarter, with the Bears only gaining major yardage from quarterback Litzler’s loping run in the final seconds.
Sophomore running back Nicholas Veach made that effort official within the first five seconds of the second quarter, making a run of his own into the end zone. For much of the second quarter, it appeared as if another defensive struggle would ensue.
But within the last minute, Dominic Esquivel bobbed and weaved around the Amador defense, bringing the score to 21-0 before the end of the half.
Then, with 40 seconds left, the Bears recovered Amador’s fumbled kick-off return. A 40-yard field goal attempt went awry however, with the ball falling short of reaching the uprights and dropping into the end zone.
Amador was able to break the shutdown in the opening minutes of the second half, coming short of the touchdown, but putting a short field goal through the uprights.
Their onside kick attempt didn’t go as planned either, with a Summerville player ably retrieving the ball on a quick bounce right at the 50-yard line.
That possession developed into yet another scoring opportunity for the Bears, and with only a few minutes remaining in the third quarter, they brought the score to 28-3. But Amador still persisted with their efforts to close the gap, scoring a touchdown of their own with two minutes remaining in the quarter.
The score widened even further however, with Esquivel taking in yet another touchdown on a 30-yard run. With less than 10 minutes remaining in the game, and Amador 25 points behind, a Summerville victory seemed to be a foregone conclusion.
With about five minutes remaining, both teams were making admirable attempts to widen the score line. But then the rain began to fall, devolving some throws, runs, blocks and tackles into disarray.
The score held, ending the game at 35-10.