(Santa Barbara) – Bishop Diego survived two fumbles on its last two possessions and the defense stopped Nordhoff on four consecutive downs from the 15 yard line in the last minute to beat the Rangers 14-7 Saturday night at La Playa Stadium at Santa Barbara City College.
With the victory, the Cardinals improved to 4-0 in the Tri-Valley League and 9-0 overall.
Leading 14-7 late in the fourth quarter, Bishop Diego after a punt return, took over at the Nordhoff 35. But on the first play from scrimmage a mishandled snap led to a fumble and Nordhoff recovered.
The Rangers, looking to tie the game, drove down to the Bishop Diego 28. Then Nordhoff quarterback Tanner Workman tried to go for the home run ball on a deep pass into the endzone only to find B.J. Murillo there playing it perfectly and picking it off in the endzone with 1:57 left. A Cardinal celebration ensued on the sideline for a victory which seemed to be assured. Not quite yet.
Bishop Diego took over at the 20, but two plays later the Cards had lost yardage back to the 14. Then they inexplicably turned the ball over again on a fumble and with just over a minute left Nordhoff had the ball and a first down at the Diego 15.
The defense did its job again holding the Rangers on four consecutive plays including a fourth down pass from Workman to Jake Boyd which only picked up two yards and another celebration broke out. This one was legitimate however as the Cardinals only needed to take a knee to run out the clock.
“We turned the ball over and tried to give it away but our defense responded twice to those turnovers and we were able to run it out,” said Bishop Diego Coach Tom Crawford.
Preceding the turnovers, the Cardinals ate up over nine minutes of the fourth quarter clock with a 12 play drive. The end result was a fourth down stop on the Nordhoff 30 yard line but it gave Bishop Diego good field position and ate up precious time.
“Coming into this game we knew that it would likely be a one score game. We couldn’t afford to let them have the ball. So we had the nice drive but then we turned the ball over,” Crawford said. “But yes I told the guys it was a nice drive because we were able to take so much time off.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Nordhoff got on the board early in the second. The Rangers marched 65 yards on eight plays. Workman hit Matt Woodcock on a 36 touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead.
Each team committed three turnovers including a big one that cost Nordhoff later in the second. Workman’s pass was tipped and then picked off deep in his own territory by Adrian Solis who returned it to the Nordhoff three. Two plays later Nolan Tooley caught a jump pass from Anthony Carter to tie it up and it was knotted at seven at the break.
The Cardinals had a chance to grab the lead on its first series of the third quarter but a 37 yard field goal attempt by Enzo Troiani was blocked. On their next possession they broke the tie.
They needed just six plays to go 71 yards. Carter capped the march with a 26 yard TD strike to Murillo with 4:13 left in the third.
The lead held up the rest of the way despite the turnovers.
Carter ran for 45 yards and threw for 46 yards and two touchdowns. Gabe Molina started the game for Bishop Diego but had to leave the game with an injury.
“Our quarterback Molina going out, that really hurt us but that forced Carter to go essentially full time both ways,” Crawford said.
Nordhoff fell to 8-1 overall but is still 2-1 in league and is set to finish second behind Bishop Diego.
N 0 7 0 0 7
BD 0 7 7 0 14