Buttons fall despite strong defense
AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Central Catholic, South San.
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South San didn’t record its initial first down until late in the third quarter. Apparently, the Bobcats were just trying to make things exciting for a group of visiting students from Denmark.
Their visitors were treated to two touchdowns in the game’s last four minutes and nine seconds in a 14-7 Bobcats victory over Central Catholic Friday at South San Stadium. South San is 2-0 for the first time since 2009.
“I’m very proud of these boys,” third-year South San coach Marcus Booker said. “They’ve come a long way and worked very hard. They found a way to win.”
Neither team scored in the first half, although South San linebacker Steven Reyes stopped a Central Catholic drive at the South San 1 with 4:13 until halftime.
“I should have kicked a field goal there,” Buttons coach L.D. Green Sr. said. “I guess I got a little greedy.”
The Buttons (1-1) broke the ice on a one-yard dive from senior quarterback Joseph Nava with 7:55 left in the third quarter. On their final possession of the third quarter, South San moved to the Buttons 3 with help from two pass completions from quarterback Isaiah Gutierrez.
With about 2:30 left in the quarter, Central Catholic linebacker Joseph Barrera produced a fourth-down stop. At around the eight-minute mark of the fourth quarter, Barrera came up with an interception that seemed to fortify Central Catholic’s 7-0 lead.
South San junior Rafael Lopez changed the complexion of the game when he found himself in the right flat for a 33-yard pass play with 4:09 left. Although a bad extra-point snap kept the Buttons ahead 7-6, momentum was shifting.
“I had to make it up to my teammates,” Lopez said, “for dropping a pass on the first play of the game. I wanted to make it up to them.”
In the fourth quarter, the Buttons were unable to finagle a first down until after South San took the lead. Central Catholic actually outgained South San 243 total yards to 197.
“The kids played the way we wanted them to,” Green said. “They didn’t quit. They gave 100 percent all the way to the end.”
A 20-yard screen pass from Gutierrez (10 of 17, 119 yards) to Justin Acosta launced the Bobcats’ final drive. Acosta scored on a 16-yard run up the middle with 1:27 remaining for the go-ahead score. Gutierrez threw to Willie Sanchez for the two-point conversion.
Jimin Suh and Nava carried Central Catholic to its 31 on the ensuing possession. There, with 39 seconds left, the Bobcats’ Jeremiah Prouty pounced on a loose fumble to seal the win.
“I was playing my keys,” Prouty said. “I was the quarterback spy. I saw that the ball was coming loose. My teammates had knocked it loose. Then I saw it on the (turf), picked it up and got on top of it.”
After a brief team meeting, South San’s players advanced to midfield chanting “2-0.”
“It’s just so much better now that we’re able to compete,” Booker said, referring to the program’s growth. “The defense played fantastic. The offense showed up late, but they came on at the right time.”