GREENFIELD—The St. Francis High football team was on the verge of losing its first game of the season in heartbreaking fashion.
But a huge defensive stop at the goal line helped the Sharks narrowly escape with a 14-10 win against Greenfield High in non-league action Thursday night.
With the win, St. Francis—with only 19 players suited to play—improved to 3-0 to begin the young season.
“It’s always hard to go from a Saturday to a Thursday game. With our numbers you can’t say enough about our guys,” St. Francis coach John Ausman said.
With seconds left in the game, the Bruins had the ball on the Sharks’ own 5-yard line with a chance for the go-ahead score.
After three tries, the Sharks’ defense held the Bruins to a successful goal-line stand for the victory.
Ausman said Thursday’s win gives the players confidence to win in close games.
“It’s not always pretty, it’s not always comfortable, ups and downs,” he said. “Keep going forward and keep doing your job, you’ll always have a chance.”
Late in the game, the Bruins had the ball at the Sharks’ 20-yard line on a 3rd down and 12 yards to go situation.
Greenfield completed a vertical pass that put them down in a goal line situation. A pass attempt on fourth down fell incomplete, giving St. Francis the victory on the road.
“A little bit of chaos, obviously it was coming down to the end of the game,” Ausman said. “Our players probably held their composure better than me.”
Ausman said it literally was a bend but don’t break moment for the Sharks’ defense and they came through.
“Credit, [Greendfield’s] a really good football team,” Ausman said. “They were physical, they did some really good things
Ausman mentioned there was some sloppy play on their part with penalties and a bunch of miscues, including two fumbles that resulted in turnovers.
“At the end of the day, a win against a good team is a win,” Ausman said.
Prior to the nail biting finish, both teams remained scoreless for a good chunk of the first half.
That was until Diego Wolfe scored his first touchdown of the season on a 2-yard run, giving St. Francis a 6-0 lead with 8:06 left in the second quarter.
Moments later, Alonso Barsenas scored on a 2-yard run that gave the Bruins a 7-6 lead over the Sharks going into halftime.
Coming out of the break, St. Francis went on an eight-minute drive and was on the verge of scoring. But a fumble at Greenfield’s 1-yard line resulted in a touchback.
“Physical football game, both sides,” Ausman said.
Greenfield drove down the field into a first-and-goal situation on the Sharks’ 5-yard line to start the fourth quarter.
After three tries to get in the end zone, the Bruins settled for a field goal by Jose Zavala that extended their lead to 10-6 with 10 minutes left in the game.
On their ensuing drive, the Sharks marched down the field again and this time Wolfe scored his second touchdown of the night.
Kyle Dyer then found Christian Abdoo for the 2-point conversion, giving the Sharks a 14-10 lead with less than five minutes left in the game.
Ausman said Wolfe has been consistent this season and Nathaniel Madrigal-Hernandez also had a good game in the backfield.
Senior quarterback Kyle Dyer made some big-time throws when the Sharks needed him.
On 3rd down and 10, he scrambled away from the defense and tossed it to Diego Ramirez. Dyer also connected with junior receiver Micah Cervanes in the seam.
“[Dyer] did some really good things and there were moments where everyone had to step up and do their jobs,” Ausman said.
Junior receiver Junior Ibarra came in for three plays at quarterback and on the first play he took it downfield for a first down the Sharks needed.
“Everyone contributed to an ugly team win but it’s a team win. At the end of the day that’s all that matters,” Ausman said.
Week 3 Scoreboard
MVC 20, Alisal 13
St. Francis 14, Greenfield 10
North Monterey County vs. Monterey, 7pm at Monterey Peninsula College
Watsonville vs. Scotts Valley, 7pm
Aptos vs. Mission College Prep, 7:30pm
Pajaro Valley at Pacific Grove, 7:30pm