By Alex Gonzalez
(Covina) — After Noah Maldonado scored his fifth touchdown of the night, Zyhir Parker and a host of Covina defenders stuffed San Dimas on the 2-point conversion, holding on for the 36-35 homecoming win over the Saints Friday night at Covina District Field.
Coming out of intermission, Covina was the first to get on the board in the third quarter when Nin Burns II connected with Danny Urrea on the out route for the 37-yard pass and catch the score. However, on the ensuing San Dimas possession, the Saints were able to answer back when they marched down the field in four plays to have Maldonado end the drive with a 36-yard touchdown run.
The Colts fired right back on their next possession when Burns connected with Tristen Spraque on a 45-yard strike to break the tie once again with 4:22 left in the third quarter. After three-quarters of the contest, Covina stood out in front 29-22.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the Colt’s defense forced the Saints to a quick three and out forcing them to punt. Following the kick, Erik Cuellar started the drive with a 62-yard run put his team 10 yards away from the end zone. Two plays later Ailaoa Tauvao reached paydirt extending Covina’s lead to 36-22 after the PAT.
San Dimas quickly responded four minutes later when Maldonado took the reverse handoff and punched in the rushing score, coming within one score on Covina.
The Colts tried to answer back on their next possession but the offense went backward on first and 10 when the shotgun snap sailed over Burns’ head. Burns was able to recover the bad snap but he lost 15 yards while doing so. Covina was forced to give the ball back three play later with 4:02 left in the final frame.
Starting on the Covina 44-yard line, San Dimas wasted no time traveling downfield to score. Dylan O’ Leary completed his second pass of the half when he connected with Dylan Ware who was able to gain 29 yards after the catch. Three rushing plays later, Maldonado crossed the end zone on the reverse trap handoff from eight yards out, putting the score at 35-36 with less than two minutes to play in regulation.
The Saints tried to run the same play on the two-point conversion try, but Maldonado was swarmed by the Colt defense who stuffed him three yards back of the line of scrimmage. San Dimas pulled their last trick out of the book when they tried the onside kick, but it failed and the Colts were able to run the clock out
At the start of the contest, the Colts jumped out to a quick 15-0 lead before the first quarter ended. After the Saints fumbled on their second play of the game, Burns led the Covina offense down the field in 11 plays, covering 45 yards in the process that ended with Cuellar punching in the first touchdown of the night.
Burns then connected with Spraque on a 69-yard bomb on their next offensive possession. After a fire call on the PAT, Burns rolled out and found his target in the corner of the end zone for the two-point score.
The Saints responded with their first touchdown late in the second quarter when Maldonado took the inside handoff and bulldozed his way for the score. Right before the halftime whistle, Maldonado scored his second touchdown of the half when he walked into the end zone from 11-yards out. After a successful 2-point conversion, San Dimas was tied at 15 with Colts just before the intermission.
*** Some Stuff
Covina Starting O-line
LT 54 Jahmal Clark
LG 78 Colin Uriarte
C 77 Jesse Barnett
RG 79 Frank Acosta
RT 63 Kallel Hires
NIn Burns II 10-20 passing 213 yards 3 TD
Erik Cuellar 24 carries 177 yards rushing 1 TD
Tristan Spraque 6 catches 141 yards receiving
Danny Urrea 2 catches 47 yards 1 TD
“It’s a gut check, you gotta check your heart and they kept battling,” said HC Joe Brown. “It’s a gritty bunch and these kids can fight and I appreciate it.”
San Dimas O-line
LT 51 Fred Salazar
LG 55 Pablo Donoso
C 56 Jacob Logan
RG 74 Danny Reta
RT 79 Nick Sotelo
Noah Maldonado 19 carries 165 yards rushing 5 TD
Dylan Ware 13 carries 67 yards
With the win, Covina moves to 1-0 to start league play and will host Northview next Friday night.
The loss drops San Dimas to 0-1 who looks to bounce back when they travel to Rowland next Friday night.