Colfax stuns Placer in double OT
COLFAX — Josh Moreno and Jake Karbowski could barely manage words to describe their feelings Friday night. They were choked up with tears of joy after what Colfax High football coach Tony Martello called the best win of his career.
The Falcons stunned Placer 24-21 in double overtime, using an incredible defensive performance, a clutch catch from Moreno and the right leg of German exchange student Matti Geissler to get it done.
After both teams scored touchdowns and kicked extra points in the first overtime, Colfax forced the Hillmen into a 33-yard field goal attempt by Darren Centi, which sailed left of the uprights. Geissler promptly trotted onto the field on the Falcons’ first play of the second OT and was perfect with a 27-yard kick to win it.
“Words can’t explain the feeling,” said Karbowski, whose interception in the fourth quarter set up Colfax’s game-tying drive. “We played with heart. We practiced so hard this week. We wanted it so bad. We had no doubt we could do it. No doubt.”
The Hillmen (2-1 Pioneer Valley League, 6-2 overall) entered the game averaging 44 points per game. But the wing-T attack was stymied by an undersized Falcon defense, sparked by Moreno. He suited up at outside linebacker for the first time as a high school player and was constantly in the Placer backfield.
“It was his first time playing defense since eighth grade,” Colfax defensive coordinator Jeff Baggett said. “He’s a great athlete and a very, very physical kid and we just had the opportunity to put him in the right spot with the right scheme.”
Moreno’s night was an epic tale of redemption. He had a chance for a touchdown catch in the first half, but the ball slipped through his hands. He atoned for it by slicing through the Placer secondary for a game-tying 31-yard touchdown catch on a bullet from Austin Young. The score set up a back-and-forth final seven minutes of the game and led to the thrilling overtime sequence.
Colfax took the lead in the PVL with a 3-0 mark. The Falcons will face Lincoln and Bear River to close out the regular season. Placer will now need some help to capture its first PVL football banner.
“They came to play,” Placer coach Joey Montoya said of the Falcons. “Give them all the credit in the world. We didn’t think about anything except for Colfax. They just played their best game and we made some costly mistakes. It’s going to be a learning experience for us and our kids.”
Placer’s lone offensive touchdown in regulation came on a 1-yard plunge by Josh Turney early in the second quarter to tie the game at 7. Tommy Baldoni charged in from 15 yards to put Colfax on top early.
The light rain made for a wild first half. Placer fumbled the ball away twice and gave up the ball after failing to cover a Colfax kickoff.
The Falcons’ miscues were even more costly. With a first down and goal to go at the Placer 1-yard line, Colfax fumbled the ball away as Tyler Graves recovered for the Hillmen. Cameron Hennen intercepted Colfax quarterback Austin Young in the final seconds of the first half after the Falcons had driven to the Placer 22.
Darren Centi put Placer ahead with a sneaky play in the third quarter. Colfax punted the ball away and as three Falcons huddled gathered around the ball to down it, Centi dashed in and snatched it. He raced 52 yards down the Placer sideline untouched into the end zone for a touchdown.
Turney was a workhorse for the Hillmen finishing with 138 yards and two touchdowns on career-high 31 carries. Baldoni managed 69 yards on 25 carries to lead the Colfax rushing game.
Young had an excellent night, completing 18 of 34 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns.
The real stars were the Colfax defenders, who were relentless in their pursuit of Placer quarterback Collin Burnett. He only got off four passes, completing one for 19 yards.
Alex Chaney, Peter Freer, Austin Fitzhugh and Roger Lillie were outstanding, but the entire Colfax defense came up big against Placer’s offensive juggernaut.
“Every play they played with every fiber and sacrificed their bodies and souls and they believed in what we were trying to accomplish,” Baggett said. “We were going against a high-powered offense that put up 60 points on Lincoln and we didn’t want that to happen at home. We’ve been through a lot this year, but the one thing we have right now is really good character kids and they believe in each other.”
Placer 14, Colfax 6 — The Hillmen got a superb effort from their defense and touchdown runs from Isaac Brahce and Casey Yunk to improve to 6-1-1 on the season.
Jake Lewis, Tony Surverkropp, Isaiah Pineiro, Jacob Peek and Cory Schlittenhart led the way for the Placer defense. Brahce scored on a big fourth-and-goal play early in the game and Yunk’s quarterback sneak gave the visitors breathing room.
Placer 21, Colfax 21 — The Falcons scored the tying touchdown and extra-point with no time on the clock to get a tie in Thursday’s frosh battle.
Placer quarterback Logan Strange completed 11 of 14 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown while Todd Valliere rushed for 85 yards, added 60 yards receiving and scored two touchdowns. Cameron Scott added a touchdown as Placer moved to 1-1-1 in the PVL.
Colfax moved to 6-1-1 overall.