It was a night of big plays and big efforts, but it ultimately came down to one final play.
With precious seconds left and trailing by a single point after scoring a last second touchdown, Morro Bay head coach Robert Dougherty elected to go for the win against the Dos Palos Broncos.
On the two-point conversion attempt, the Pirates attempted a reverse-pass to the quarterback. The pass was thrown in the right corner of the endzone but was broken up by Bronco defender Felix Garcia, securing the victory for Dos Palos, 28-27.
Now it will be the Broncos who will travel to the Central Coast. Their victory sets up a semi-final contest this Friday at Atascadero. Last Friday, the No. 2 seed Greyhounds defeated No. 7 Madera South, 39-8. Gametime will be 7 p.m.
Bronco running back Andre Flores led the Bronco offense, busting several big runs on his way to 253 yards on 19 carries. Most of his big gains were up the middle as the Bronco offensive line opened up good holes for Flores to run through.
The first quarter was scoreless as the Bronco defense held Morro Bay in check with key stops. On one drive, defenders were not fooled by a reverse and tackled the running back for a loss. Another drive was stopped when a screen pass was sniffed out and it resulted in another loss.
In the second quarter, Dos Palos quarterback Peyton Van Worth hit Mike Cantu for a 21-yard touchdown pass as Cantu leaped in front of two Pirate defenders and an early 6-0 lead.
But the Pirates would come right back when quarterback Nicky Johnson hit Manny Cantu on a 34 yard scoring toss. Their extra point kick was good for a 7-6 lead. Later in the quarter, Flores busted loose up the middle for a 39-yard gain all the way to the Morro Bay 14- yard line. One play later, Van Worth hit Cantu again for a TD. The Broncos were successful on a two-point try and led 14-7.
In the third quarter, Dos Palos increased its lead when Flores took the hand-off up the middle, slid to the outside and raced to the endzone for a 53-yard touchdown. After Morro Bay scored on another pass from Johnson to Cantu, Flores again broke loose for the Broncos. On the Pirate 44-yard line, Flores headed up the middle, broke to his left this time, and scored the key touchdown.
But Morro Bay would not quit, scoring twice to bring the score to 28-27 and the failed two-point try.
Van Worth finished with 97 passing yards. The leading tacklers for the Broncos were Sixto Ibarra and Ruben Chavez, who also both had key interceptions to stop Pirate drives.
The West Sierra League will be well-represented in this week’s football semi-finals. In Div. VI, No. 3 Mendota will host No. 10 Riverdale. In Div. V, No. 5 Avenal will face No. 1 Hanford West, and in Div. IV, No. 7 Coalinga will travel to No. 3 Caruthers.