By Tim Peterson
(South El Monte) – When Daniel Olmos picked off a pass with just over two minutes left South El Monte could finally breathe a sigh of relief in a 42-35 win over Rancho Christian Friday night in a Division 12 CIF second round Playoff game.
Olmos, who did most of his damage from the quarterback position, may have made his best play of the night with the pick. Rancho Christian had just stopped South El Monte on its series as the Eagles missed a 39-yard field goal that would have iced it. They were moving down the field when Carter Treadway fired a pass that Olmos stepped in front of to seal the deal.
It was Rancho Christian’s second turnover on consecutive possessions and propelled South to the victory.
The teams traded touchdowns throughout the contest. They were tied at 14 at halftime and Rancho led 35-28 at the end of three. South scored twice in the fourth and thanks to the two Rancho turnovers the Eagles held the other Eagles (Rancho Christian) at bay.
Rancho Christian scored first as Treadway hit Joseph Rapolla on an 11-yard touchdown score to cap a 10-play, 82-yard drive. South El Monte came right back as Olmos broke off a 47-yard touchdown run to tie it.
Rancho took a 14-7 lead early in the second as Jaden Schieberl intercepted Olmos and took it 45-yards to the house. Olmos made up for the pick later in the quarter as he busted off another long touchdown run. This time it was a 44-yard jaunt as he weaved his way through the Rancho Christian defense and into the endzone to tie it at the break.
Sal Tovar, who had been relatively quiet in the first half, started the third quarter with a bang returning the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown to give the Eagles their first lead.
Rancho Christian came right back with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Treadway to Paul Nichols. Tovar landed another blow with a 32-yard touchdown run for a 28-21 lead.
Rancho scored the next two touchdowns to take its final lead of the night. Treadway and Nichols hooked up again on a 48-yard scoring play to tie it at 28. After South El Monte went for it on fourth down on its own 35 and was stopped Rancho Christian took advantage of a short field using just three plays to go 35 yards. Treadway turned a trick play into a three-yard catch for a touchdown as he hauled one in from the receiver JoJo Saatzer.
Tovar got loose again in the ensuing kickoff breaking it all the way down to the Rancho Christian 18 yard line. Four Plays later Olmos hit AJ Carreon on five-yard touchdown pass.
South got what proved to be the game winner with 5:50 left when Carreon picked up his second touchdown of the night as he hauled in a 23-yard strike from Olmos.
Olmos then drove the nail in the coffin with the pick.
Olmos rushed for 149 yards and threw for two touchdowns. Tovar ran for 139 yards on 29 carries and a touchdown in addition to the kick return for a score.
Treadway threw for 265 yards and three touchdowns for Rancho Christian in a losing cause.
South El Monte, 11-1, will host Santa Maria next Friday night in the semi finals.