ROHNERT PARK -- Jalon Luque of the Rancho Cotate High football team broke a Northgate tackle near his 25-yard line and galloped away into the cold, cold night -- all the way to the North Coast Section Division II title game.
Luque finished off a 98-yard touchdown run Saturday night, and finished off Northgate in the process. The Cougars went on to a 30-17 victory and a berth in Friday's final against Clayton Valley Charter at Diablo Valley College. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
Luque ended up with 277 yards and two TDs. This despite not feeling well after taking too much of his asthma medication. He estimated he was at 80 percent.
"I thought I was going to be tackled," Luque said of his back-breaking run. "I just broke it and was gone."
It was a tough end to a tremendous season for Northgate (9-3). The Broncos hung with Rancho Cotate (12-0) for a half -- the score was 10-10 at the break. But Northgate appeared to wear down in the second half, especially on defense. Luque had 225 of his yards and both TDs in the second half.
"The seniors led us this year," Broncos coach Justin Lowell said. "And have raised the expectations of the program. We've taken the next step and made the foundation."
Lowell recognized the tall order his team faced -- trying to beat one the best teams in Northern California on the road.
"They're a very disciplined team, they're well-coached," he said. "They have a great line, and they have a great back to
Northgate's offense moved the ball in the first half but struggled in the second half until a late scoring drive after the game had been decided. Joe Pelletier hit 8 of 20 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown against two interceptions. Fisi Tavake ran for 45 yards and a score.
NCS Playoffs Semifinal Division II Rancho Cotate 30, Northgate 17
Northgate 0 10 0 7-- 17
RC 7 3 13 7-- 30
RC -- Fono 6 run (Perez kick)
N -- Tavake 1 run (Dale kick)
RC -- Perez 37 field goal
N -- Dale 36 field goal
RC -- Coto 25 pass from Courchaine (Perez kick)
RC -- Luque 98 run (kick failed)
RC -- Luque 30 run (Perez kick)
N -- Lee 18 pass from Pelletier (Dale kick)
Rushing: N -- Tavake 13-45, Sharpe 9-40, Voorhees 4-21, Haynes 5-14, Boukis 3-12, Pelletier 8-7. Totals: 42-139. RC -- Luque 19-277, Silveri 2-22, Tanoa 4-21, Courchaine 5-17, Malik 1-13, Fono 1-6, Cavallero 1-3, Roberts 2-1, Mefferd 1-(-1), TEAM 2-(-2). Totals: 38-357. Passing: N -- Pelletier 8-20-2-118. RC -- Courchaine 4-14-0-73. Receiving: N -- Lee 6-96, Smith 1-13, Sharpe 1-9. RC -- Luque 3-48, Soto 1-25. Fumbles/lost: Northgate 4/1; Rancho Cotate 1/1. Records: Rancho Cotate 12-0; Northgate 9-3.