Big plays made the difference in host Milpitas High's 34-19 win over Sequoia in the Central Coast Section Division I semifinals Friday.
And the biggest plays of all were turned in by one of the biggest players on the field.
Vita Vea is listed at 6-foot-5, 280 pounds. An all-Mercury News selection on defense as a junior, Vea also gets spot duty at running back. He made the most of his opportunities Friday, running 40 yards for a touchdown the first time he touched the ball and 25 yards for another touchdown the second time he handled the ball.
"Actually I've gained some weight, I'm 300 now,'' Vea said.
Milpitas advances to play San Benito for the CCS Division I championship Dec. 1 at Independence High.
"I really enjoy running with the ball, it's a great experience,'' Vea said. "My linemen gave me great blocks and (fullback) Brandon Sualua gave me great blocks. (Running backs C.J. Reyes and Squally Canada) help me a lot because it's all new to me."
Milpitas had its season end in the CCS semifinals last year, losing to eventual Division I champion Serra.
"I'm proud of the fact we're here," Milpitas coach Kelly King said.
Milpitas (9-3) set the tone early. After an exchange of turnovers Milpitas wide receiver Tre Hartley got behind the Sequoia secondary and Reed hit him perfectly in stride for an 85-yard touchdown.
Sequoia took advantage of good field position after the ensuing kickoff and drove 40 yards
Milpitas had a first down at the Sequoia 40 when Vea got his first touch. He broke through the line, shrugged off a couple of would-be tacklers and took it all the way for the touchdown that gave the Trojans the lead for good.
His 25-yard touchdown run in the second quarter capped a 90-yard drive for Milpitas and extended the lead to 21-7.
Brandon Sualua's 25-yard touchdown run on the next Milpitas possession made it 28-7 at halftime.
"They're a big, physical, athletic team,'' Sequoia coach Rob Poulos said of Milpitas. —We were doing well against the run and then they hit us with the pass. In the second half we played better because we backed everything off and started playing assignments. In the first half things were just missing, and you can't just miss against a great team. And Milpitas is a great team."
Vea came up with an interception on Sequoia's first possession of the third quarter and returned it 15 yards to the Sequoia 10, where he was tackled for the first time on the night. That set up a 24-yard field goal by Jesus Gonzalez that made it 31-7.
Later in the third quarter quarterback Mike Taylor scored on a 2-yard run for Sequoia. His run was set up by a 23-yard punt return by Eduardo Alvarado. Taylor's second touchdown of the game, a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter, was his 22nd rushing touchdown of the season. Gonzalez added a 49-yard field goal late in the third quarter for Milpitas' final score.
San Benito 30, Salinas 13: San Benito earned a spot in the CCS Division I championship by knocking off No. 2 seed Salinas in Salinas. The No. 6 Balers (7-5) got three touchdown runs and a touchdown pass from junior quarterback David Stanton to avenge a 26-6 loss to Salinas earlier in the season.
-- Jerry Steward, correspondent