Saturday, November 16, 2013

South City beats El Camino, 29-28, in first game on new EC Field

Football players running through a banner.
El Camino football players burst through a banner prior to the second half of their game against rival South San Francisco High on Saturday. Photos by John Baker.

New field, same result.

Behind two late touchdowns from Dupra Goodman, with the running back taking in his own two-point conversions on both, South San Francisco High won its 10th-straight "Bell Game" on Saturday, edging crosstown rival El Camino High, 29-28. The Colts' last win in the series remains a 35-19 upset in 2003.

It was the first game on El Camino's brand new turf field, the first time the Bell Game had ever been played at the El Camino campus, and all the more heartbreaking for the hosts because the Colts missed a potential game-winning 24-yard field goal just before time expired.

“We told ourselves as coaches, 'We can’t lose this game,'” said former El Camino head coach and current assistant Eric Jacobsen, a key advocate for installing the school bond-funded new field. “It would hurt if it were week one, but this is the Bell Game.”

South City (3-7) scored first on a one-yard Maligi Maluia keeper with 9:36 left in the second quarter. El Camino (6-4) equalized 5:54 before halftime when Brandon Gip (a game-high 249 yards rushing on 24 carries) took a fake punt in 67 yards for the score.

The Warriors went ahead on their next possession, an eight-yard Cesar Torres run capping a short touchdown drive. But El Camino roared right back, taking a 14-13 lead into halftime after a 19-yard touchdown pass from Michael Keegan to Andres Abarca with 11 seconds left.
El Camino football player Andres Abarca falls after catching a touchdown pass.
El Camino's Andres Abarca (right) scores on a 19-yard pass from Michael Keegan just before halftime. 

El Camino then scored on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, with Gip again doing the damage, this time with a 63-yard touchdown run up the left side. But the Colts kicker shanked the PAT try, setting an ominous tone for later.

The teams exchanged scores early in the fourth quarter, with Goodman tallying an 32-yard scoring run for South San Francisco and Keegan a one-yard keeper to put El Camino up 28-21 after the two-point conversion with 5:06 left to play. On the ensuing Warriors possession, Goodman scored again, this time on an eight-yard run, then added his own extra two points on the PAT, with 1:28 left in the game.

“I said if we’re going to keep getting five, six yards a crack, we’re going for two,” said South City coach Frank Moro. “I just had the confidence that we could do it.”

El Camino advanced all the way to the SSF 2, but two runs and a pass went nowhere. After a delay of game penalty, the Colts tried a 24-yard field goal on fourth down, but it went wide left.

While the Colts were gutted by the narrow loss, Jacobsen said the new field would still be a source of pride for El Camino.

“It was definitely the biggest thing to happen to El Camino athletics in the 22 years that I’ve been here,” he said. “And I’m really proud of the facility. The kids love it and everybody who sees it will be really, really happy.”

Below: a slideshow from Saturday's Bell Game.