Mark Kessler came off the field muttering, "This team, I'm not looking." His San Ramon Valley High School Wolves only had to kneel on the ball to wrap up a 12-10 victory at Foothill on Friday night, and the San Ramon Valley coach was a bit nervous.
But quarterback Joseph Love, in fact, executed a perfect kneel, and San Ramon Valley had an improbable win.
Consider that Love entered the game in relief of starter Zachary Kline, who was getting battered by the Falcons' blitz. Consider that twice the Wolves fumbled inside their own 10-yard line. Consider that the game-winning play came on a fourth-and-14 at the Foothill 41 when Love kept the play alive, receiver Michael Tagliaferri came back on his corner route, caught the pass, then slipped Ray Hudson and Colin Kacinski on his way to the end zone with 1:29 left in the game.
"We knew it was our last chance and we knew we had to make a play and we did," Love said. "It became a broken play. To catch that and then break that tackle and make a touchdown when we needed it, that was amazing."
The game was a real pitchers' duel most of the way, with both defenses playing outstanding. San Ramon Valley (4-2, 1-2 East Bay Athletic League) took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter when Tagliaferri intercepted David Camarena and returned the ball 37 yards for a touchdown.
That's how it stayed into the second half. Foothill's Luis Castillo missed field goals of 53 and 49 yards. Nobody scored until late in the third quarter when Kline threw a short pass to Keaton Harvey, who fumbled the ball at his own 7. Bobby Killian fell on it for Foothill (4-2, 1-2), and on the next play, Kacinski ran it in for a 7-6 lead.
In the fourth quarter, Love fumbled a snap and Grifith Gates fell on it for the Falcons at the 5. The Wolves defense forced a 19-yard field goal by Castillo in what turned out to be a huge stand.