Andrew Totaro kicked a 25-yard field goal out with 4:10 remaining, giving Dublin a three-point lead. But the battle for the Gaels was just beginning.
Acalanes nearly pulled off a game-winning drive on the ensuing series, but shot itself in the foot one last time, as Dublin forced a fourth-down incompletion near midfield to wrap up the victory.
"These kids, they fight. That's what I love about them," Dublin coach John Wade said. "I told them to just play hard and lay it out on the field and see what happens at the end."
The final minutes featured a dramatic sequence when Steve Main hauled in a would-be, 26-yard catch to bring Acalanes near the Dublin redzone, but a penalty negated the big play and big momentum. One short run and three incompletions later, Dublin was in the victory formation.
Dublin sophomore quarterback Josh Nobida went 10 of 15 for 137 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 46 yards on the ground. Nobida connected for touchdowns of 65 yards to Connor Chin and 27 yards to Jabari Jefferson.
Senior running back Deshawn Johnson led the Acalanes attack with 16 carries for 74 yards and a touchdown, while Ben Kim hauled in a 9-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown for the Dons before Totaro's game-winning field goal. But three fumbles (two lost) and a host of untimely penalties ultimately doomed Acalanes.
Dublin 17, Acalanes 14
Acalanes 0 7 0 7-- 14
D -- Chin 65 pass from Nobida (Totaro kick)
A -- Johnson 3 run (Wood kick)
D -- Jefferson 27 pass from Nobida (Totaro kick)
A -- Kim 9 pass from Stern (Wood Kick)
D -- Totaro 25 FG
Rushing: D -- Millinder 15-66, Nobida 12-46, Yu 3-14, Elias 4-7. Totals 34-133. A -- Johnson 16-74, Stern 10-40, Edwards 7-27, Mitchell 5-28, Lee 1-8, Ibarra 1-3, Supple 1-3. Totals 41-183. Passing: D -- Nobida 10-15-1 137. A -- Stern 6-15-0 95. Receiving: D -- Chin 2-74, Yu 5-34, Jefferson 2-25, Barber 1-4. A -- Main 3-71, Kim 2-16, Supple 1-8.
Fumbles/lost: Dublin 0/0; Acalanes 3/2. Records: Dublin 5-2, 3-2 DFAL; Acalanes 6-3, 2-3.