It wasn't until Andrew Zolintakis' pass on fourth-and-13 floated high over his receiver's head and bounced harmlessly on the sideline that the magic was, at long last, finally extinguished for the 2012 Campolindo High football team.
Right up until that moment, with 1:49 left on the game clock, it seemed possible -- probable, even -- that the host Cougars would somehow find a way to overcome a seemingly endless string of big-play knockout punches from Analy-Sebastopol.
In the end, the Tigers made too many huge plays on offense and just enough plays on defense to hold off the Cougars 38-34 in the second round of the North Coast Section Division III playoffs Friday.
No. 5 seeded Analy (12-0) advances to face the winner of Saturday's game between No. 1 El Cerrito (11-0) and No. 9 Bishop O'Dowd (7-4) in next week's semifinal.
"They've got big playmakers," Campolindo coach Kevin Macy said of the quick-striking Tigers. "When they need to, they can just put it up to a big playmaker. We don't have that option."
It seemed for all the world as though Darrin Newman's 80-yard dagger to big playmaker No. 1, Aaron Maher, which put Analy up 38-28 with 6:27 to play, would toll the death-knell for the No. 4 Cougars (10-2). But Zolintakis marched them 65 yards in 58 seconds and five plays to draw within four points on a 31-yard strike to Hunter Rosenbaum. The ensuing PAT was blocked, but Analy went three-and-out to give Campolindo one final shot.
Newman arced a 57-yard bomb to Maher on Analy's first play from scrimmage to set up Kyle Lewis' 3-yard scoring plunge. Maher was virtually undefendable, catching eight balls for 217 yards and two scores.
Zolintakis, who took over at quarterback after starter Brett Stephens went out with a season-ending injury, completed 22 of 35 passes for 368 yards with an interception and four touchdown passes. His favorite target, Phillip Rei, caught six balls for 131 yards and two scores.
Newman went 22-for-38 for 347 yards, three touchdowns and one pick.
Cardinal Newman-Santa Rosa 40, Encinal 14: The Jets committed three first-half turnovers, which led to 20 points for the Cardinals in the Division III quarterfinals.
The Cardinals (11-1) will play the winner of Saturday's game between Marin Catholic and Miramonte next week.
The No. 3 Cardinals didn't waste time jumping on the Jets, as Phillip Wright returned the opening kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown. Wright found the end zone again later in the quarter with a 3-yard run as the Cardinals took a 14-0 lead.
The Cardinals then scored 26 points in the second quarter, as Jacob Webb scored on a 50-yard pass play from Keaton Dunsford before Kenny Carter added an 18-yard TD run after a Jets fumble.
Dunsford connected with Webb on another scoring pass, this time from 13 yards after Chris Steele picked off Jets quarterback Taivale Tautalatasi as the Cardinals took a 40-0 halftime lead.
Encinal (7-6) got on the board in the third quarter when Tyrell Carrigan opened the half with a 43-yard run before finishing the drive with a 20-yard scamper to the end zone. Tautalatasi added a 2-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
-- Tony Gonsalez, correspondent
Justin-Siena-Napa 48, St. Mary's 14: The host Braves (9-2) scored 28 points in the second half to pull away from the No. 9 Panthers and advance to the NCS Division IV semifinals.
St. Mary's (6-6) got on the board with 11:05 left in the first half. Quarterback Kevin Flemer found Caleb Coleman open for a 9-yard touchdown to cut the Braves' lead to 12-7. But Justin-Siena drove 70 yards on eight plays on its next possession, capped by a 15-yard touchdown run by Austin Connolly.
-- Nick Norvell,