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Huskies' state playoff dreams take a hit
Down 21-0, Sutter High mounted an unbelievable comeback to eventually take a 28-27 lead over Division III state title runner-up Central Catholic late in the fourth quarter.
But 3:45 left on the clock was just enough time for the Raiders to drive 70 yards and kick a 25-yard field goal, crushing the wave of momentum that swept through Wayne Gadberry Stadium for two quarters Saturday night.
With one second remaining after the ensuing kickoff, Sutter quarterback John Garcia tossed up a prayer down the field, but the ball was tipped away and Sutter fell, 30-28.
"Our kids played hard. We just made a couple of mistakes," said Sutter coach Scott Turner. "Their effort was great tonight. It's tough on them because it's these guys' first loss."
It was the first loss for the Sutter senior class in their high school career.
"The first two plays ... the fumbles obviously hurt us," Turner said. "And the pass interference call down here late, I don't know how you call that at that point in a game like this."
Sutter coughed up two fumbles on their first two plays from scrimmage before settling down and putting together a solid drive, but still ended up punting.
On Sutter's fourth possession, Garcia joined teammates Rowdy Robinson and Dane Turner to give up a third Husky fumble.
Central Catholic responded with an impressive 15-play, 62-yard drive capped off by a T.J. Belton 8-yard touchdown run, giving Central Catholic a 21-0 lead with five minutes remaining in the first half.
"We came out a little tight tonight," Turner said. "But once we settled down, I thought we got in our tempo."
From the five-minute mark in the second quarter until 3:45 left in the game, the Huskies essentially dominated.
Sutter scored two minutes later after a five-play drive that ended on a Garcia strike to Turner, who busted loose and scored from 22 yards out. Garcia punched in a two-point conversion and the Huskies went into the locker room down, 21-8.
After Sutter's defense forced Central Catholic to punt co ing out of the half, Garcia lifted his team on his shoulders and rushed for 46 yards and passed for another 18 to lead the Huskies down the field, before he tossed the ball right to Robinson, who evaded two tacklers on his way into the end zone to help Sutter cut the lead to just six points.
The Raiders bounced back and added another touchdown to increase their lead to 27-15 when quarterback Dylan Swartz hit James Orth — who was a thorn in the side of Sutter all evening — from four yards out.
With nine seconds remaining in the third quarter, Turner returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown on the reverse to make the score 27-22.
Sutter's defense played on the momentum and shut down Central Catholic, forcing the Raiders to punt twice.
With 7:10 remaining, Sutter drove 81 yards, which included a Garcia pass to Turner for 36 yards, setting up an eventual Robinson 1-yard TD run to give Sutter its only lead.
Sebastian Hernandez kicked the winning field goal for Central Catholic.
C. CATHOLIC 30, SUTTER 28