By Saile Ramirez
(San Dimas)- San Dimas outscored Azusa 29-3 in the second half Friday night for a 50-24 victory in the Mid-Valley Semifinal Division game.
“We got adjustments done and were able to whip out a little more of the playbook in the second half,” said San Dimas head coach Bill Zernickow of his team’s strategy.
The Saints Tre Evans, Dillon Corona, Jordan Taylor and Ryan Kohler combined for over 400 rushing yards and all seven touchdowns.
The Aztecs first drive lasted three plays after Bryan Neito fumbled the ball, which was recovered by San Dimas’ Gabe Jimenez. The recovery positioned SD on the Azusa 28. From there Corona ran 28-yards on his team’s first play for the score.
Down 6-0, after the missed point after, Aztec running back Kendrec McDade carried the ball five times for 53-yards on a 9-play drive ending with a 5-yard touchdown scamper to give Azusa a 7-6 lead still early in the first quarter.
The Aztec defense only allowed 2-yards on the next Saints possession making them punt. John Chavez and the Azusa offense returned to the field to string together a 13-play drive covering 67-yards and concluding with a Chavez 1-yard sneak for a touchdown and pushed the lead to eight.
Answering right back SD’s Kohler and Taylor helped set up another Corona rushing touchdown tying the game at fourteen after an Evans two point conversion ending the first quarter.
Each team had their next drives stall out. San Dimas was on the verge of stopping another Aztec drive, but their defensive efforts were spoiled when Kevin Kolbeck fumbled on the punt return and gave Azusa the ball right back. The Aztecs capitalized on the turnover and scored on a Steven Blount 3-yard touchdown run regaining the lead in the process.
With 3:25 left in the half the Saints offense marched down field completing just one pass from Shawn Kennedy to Justin Winrow who was tackled at the Azusa four. With no timeouts and 12 seconds left the coaching staff decided to put the ball in Kohler’s hands who rumbled into the end zone to tie the game at 21-21.
With six seconds left in the half, Corona kicked the ball off to the very dangerous McDade who returned the ball 70-yards, striking fear into the Saint faithful, before being tackled inside the thirty.
The Aztec defense led by an Andrew Rocha sack stopped San Dimas on the first possession of the second half.
Blount and McDade led the Azusa offense down to the Saints five and on a fourth and goal the Aztecs elected to kick a field goal. Jose Nunez made the 22-yarder and put his team up three.
It took SD only three plays to respond and make known the game would be won by touchdowns and not field goals. Kohler was the exclamation point to the statement when he ran 59-yards for a touchdown late in the third.
Down for only the second time in the game, Azusa’s ensuing possession resulted in a quick three and out and another opportunity for San Dimas.
Again SD scored on only three plays-this time on a 46-yard run by Taylor. Evans added to the lead with a two-point conversion extending the lead to twelve.
Having no answer to the San Dimas defense, Azusa’s last three drives ended on turnovers- one on downs and the other two on a fumble and an interception.
San Dimas now finds itself in its first CIF Championship game in school history.
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