After the Clayton Valley Charter High football team delivered a 41-21 victory over visiting Northgate on Friday, coach Tim Murphy bolted down the field as his players gave chase.
The Eagles' first-year coach knew the celebratory ice water shower was coming.
His team had posted a key win for the second straight week, and this one clinched at least a share of the Diablo Valley Athletic League title. So there was good reason to celebrate.
By handing Northgate (7-2, 3-1 DVAL) its first league loss, Clayton Valley (8-1, 4-0 DVAL) can make it an outright league championship -- its first since 2008 -- with a win over Mt. Diablo next week.
No matter what happens in their final game, the surging Eagles have earned the DVAL's automatic berth to the North Coast Section playoffs.
Though the score against Northgate looks lopsided, this win wasn't easy. The game was tied at 21 heading into the fourth quarter before Clayton Valley came up with several big plays on both sides of the ball to produce the win.
"Our kids showed a lot of character in the second half," Murphy said. "Those guys gave us a hell of a football game. Defense did a great job, the offensive line picked it up as we got going, special teams was solid all the way."
Joe Protheroe's interception on a Northgate trick play attempt early in the fourth quarter shifted the momentum. Two plays later, quarterback Michael Protheroe, Joe's younger brother, scored the go-ahead touchdown on a naked bootleg from 27 yards out.
Then the Clayton Valley defense came up big again. After Clayton Valley gave up a long kickoff return, linebacker Jesse Medrano and the Eagles stopped Northgate four times from inside the 5-yard line.
The Eagles got the ball back on their own 1-yard line and drove 99 yards in 10 plays for an insurance score. Clayton Valley also scored on the final play of the game after forcing Northgate's fourth turnover.
Joe Protheroe rushed for 172 yards and two touchdowns, and Michael Protheroe rushed for three scores.
Fisi Tavake and Jimmy Sharpe both rushed for 89 yards and a score to lead Northgate.
Concord 68, Mt. Diablo 12: The Minutemen routed the host Red Devils behind a five-touchdown performance from Jay Yesin.
Yesin caught early two touchdown passes from quarterback Mitchell Daniels. Then, with time winding down in the first half, Yesin intercepted Mt. Diablo quarterback Austin Hunt and returned the ball 77 yards for another Concord score.
In the third quarter, Yesin returned two Mt. Diablo punts for touchdowns, one from 30 yards and the other from 68.
Mt. Diablo (2-7, 0-4 DVAL) had a 6-0 lead early in the first quarter when Hunt connected with Davail Jenkins for a 3-yard scoring pass. But Concord (7-2, 2-2) had just too much size in the trenches, out-rushing Mt. Diablo 320 yards to 85.
Olito Thompson had two rushing scores for Concord and Mark Rubio had one.
The only other score for the Red Devils was a 16-yard touchdown pass from Hunt to Kalyn Nichols.
-- Nick Bender, correspondent
College Park 61, Ygnacio Valley 14: The Falcons (4-5, 2-2 DVAL) opened up a 28-point lead at halftime en route to an easy win over the host Warriors (2-7, 1-3) on homecoming.
Quarterback Dmitri Salido rushed for three touchdowns in the first half, including a 4-yard score late in the second quarter that gave College Park a 34-6 lead at the break. The Falcons then score 27 unanswered points in the third quarter to seal the victory.
Salido finished the first half with 116 yards on 15 carries, and Timmy Jackson had four carries for 62 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown run. Matt DeSilva added 52 yards on seven carries in the first half.
The lone score for Ygnacio Valley came in the second quarter, as quarterback Jamari Pope had a 75-yard touchdown run to cut college Park's lead to 27-6. Pope finished the first half with 121 yards on 12 carries.
-- Nick Norvell, correspondent