By Tim Peterson
(Arcadia) – Michael Mosqueda kicked a 28-yard field goal with no time remaining to give Kaiser a 38-35 win over Arcadia Friday night in the CIF Division 8 Final.
It was Mosqueda’s first kick of the night but it proved to be money as it sailed through the uprights as the clock hit zeroes. For Kaiser it touched off a joyous celebration while for Arcadia, which was appearing in its first championship game in 40 years, it was nothing but pain and agony.
Kaiser took possession of the ball on its own 22 with over six minutes left on the clock after an interception tied at 35. The Cats never gave up the ball driving down to the Arcadia 11-yard line with three seconds left. Kaiser Head Coach Bill Cardosi called time out setting up Mosqueda’s game winner. The kick was not only Mosqueda’s first of the night as Joseph Glenn was kicking the extra points but also the Cats first field goal of the year.
The Kaiser offense consisted of two weapons- running back Christian Hunter and quarterback Trey Tribble. To describe Hunter as a workhorse would be an understatement. The senior had 42 carries for 323 yards and three touchdowns. Hunter had 79 yards in the first half but had a huge second half including touchdown runs of 28 and 44 yards.
Arcadis had three turnovers on the night which proved to be crucial.
The Apaches got on the board quickly in the first quarter. A 46-yard pass from Dylan Guerra to Jabari Kindle set up a nine-yard touchdown run by Damarco Moorer for a 7-0 lead.
Kaiser was forced to punt on its initial possession but Arcadia couldn’t take advantage when the Apaches fumbled and Ruben Duarte fell on the loose pigskin at the Arcadia 28. After a penalty Hunter rumbled in from 23 yards out to tie it at seven.
After an Arcadia punt, the Cats took the lead driving 59 yards on nine plays to go up 14-7. Tribble kept it himself for a 28-yard score. Early in the second quarter Moorer finished a 54-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown scamper to get the Apaches even.
Kaiser responded with a nine-play, 80-yard march capped by a one-yard run by Tribble and the Cats were back on top.
Torry Brumfield scored on a five-yard run with 3:38 left in the half for the Apaches and it appeared the two teams were headed into the half tied at 21. But Kaiser punted the ball back to Arcadia with just over a minute left and the Apaches cashed in.
Arcadia needed just three plays to go 53 yards. Guerra connected with Ahmad Lipscomb for 31-yard touchdown pass with 22 seconds left in the half. The Apaches took the 28-21 lead into break.
Kaiser wasted no time tying things up in the third quarter. The Cats used just three plays out of the gate as a 51-yard run by Hunter set himself up for a 28-yard touchdown jaunt at the 10:59 mark.
It was Arcadia’s turn in this back and forth affair. Less than three minutes later, Frankie Contreras hauled in a 14-yard TD pass from Guerra and just like that the Apaches had regained the lead at 35-28. Unfortunately for the Arcadia faithful, that was the last time the Apaches scored.
Arcadia had a golden opportunity to ice it after a Rolandiss Whitener interception and return set the Apaches up at the Kaiser 16. However on the first play of the series Deonte Bevel rumbled up the middle but was hit and the ball popped loose and rolled out of the back of the endzone for a touchback with 10:00 left in the fourth quarter. Instead of a 42-28 Arcadia lead it was still a seven point game and the Cats had the ball at their own 20.
Kaiser said “Thank you very much” and drove 80 yards on seven plays with Hunter (who else?) breaking tackles and bolting 44-yards for the score to tie it at 35 with 7:01 left.
Kaiser picked off Guerra deep in its own territory on the following possession and never gave up the ball leading to Mosqueda’s nail in the coffin.
Guerra completed 19 of 24 for 257 yards and two touchdowns and an interception. Whitener had four catches for 76 yards and Contreras and Lipscomb each had 55 yards in receptions and a touchdown.
Tribble, the number two in Kaiser’s one-two punch, rushed for 112 yards and a pair of scores on 16 carries for the Cats who finished 13-1 overall in the championship season.
Arcadia won the Pacific League title and went 12-2 overall.
“Our kids fought their tails off the whole season and they played a good game tonight- just a couple of key mistakes,” said Arcadia Coach Andrew Policky .”You got to tip your cap to them (Kaiser). They did what they wanted to do. They were able to run the football and keep our offense off the field for long stretches there, and we just came up a little bit short.”
And for Arcadia, the wait for that elusive CIF crown continues.