By Matt Schuler
At the time it seemed as if Azusa head coach Joe Scherf made a good call when he kicked a field goal with five minutes left in the third quarter to go up 24-21 during Friday night’s CIF semi final bout against San Dimas and Coach Bill Zernickow.
The only question was should have Scherf gone for it considering it was fourth and goal from the 5 and the Saints ended up winning the game 50-24?
“I felt we needed to kick the field goal,” said Scherf. “We were close enough that I thought maybe my defense was going to be good enough to step up and play, but we didn’t get it done.”
Instead, Ryan Kohler scored on a 59-yard touchdown run, Jordan Taylor took a hand off 46 yards for another score and Tre Evans added an 18-yard scamper to complete a San Dimas 29-0 run following the field goal.
Zernickow actually had a lot to say and couldn’t hide his smile after San Dimas advanced to the CIF finals for the first time in school history.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” said Zernickow, whose team expressed little excitement. “I’m just so proud of our kids to be able to do something like this.”
“I don’t know how long the school’s been here, but being able to be the first (football team) to do it, it’s pretty special.”
The field goal, which actually gave the Aztecs the lead for the third time of the night, ultimately proved to be a sign of defeat for Azusa after settling for three and giving any momentum from that drive back to the Saints.
Given another touchdown, the Aztecs would have grasped the momentum and went up 28-21 late in the third, putting all the pressure back on SD after what would have been the fourth TD for the Azusa offense.
The kick on fourth down was also a surprise because Scherf, like Bill Belichick of the Patriots, is not shy about going for it on fourth down and has done it plenty of times this season. The Aztecs (11-2) actually converted four fourth downs during the game, including one on that same drive, but did not see the same fortune five yards from the goal line.
On a fourth and one with nine minutes in the first quarter Kendrec Mcdade (142 Yards, 1TD) picked up 17 yards and converted the first down on a hard statement run, which led to one of their touchdowns.
On a fourth and goal from the one QB John Chavez snuck in the touch himself for a 13-6 lead with two minutes remaining in the first.
On fourth and two with six minutes remaining in the third Bryan Nieto converted a short run for the first, which led to the field goal.
Looking back a touchdown would have more favorably suited the underdog Aztecs, who were representing their school, city and the Montview league, which hasn’t had a team advance this far in the playoffs since Duarte in 2006.
Rather, the defensive stop for San Dimas fueled their defense, as Azusa did not score the rest of the night.
Even in the agony of defeat, Scherf is still positive about his team’s effort over the last two seasons and the direction they are headed.
“I’m proud of my boys and what we accomplished this year,” said Scherf, who has led Azusa to their first CIF semi-finals in school history and a 21-4 record in two seasons.
“To go one more step would have been great, but we just didn’t play good enough tonight. The city is proud of us. They’ve stated that and we’ll move on from here and maybe next year we’ll advance a little further.”
Maybe next year they will get an even better kick out of it.
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