With two seconds left in a tie game, sophomore Quinton Conaway was summoned to kick a 40-yard field goal. He drilled it straight through the uprights, propelling Golden West to a 20-17 upset victory over Saddleback Saturday night.
Saddleback came into this game as the heavy favorite and sported an undefeated 5-0 record. Golden West's defense showing up to play would give them the best chance at a victory. The defense most certainly came to play sacking the two Saddleback quarterbacks 7 times, recording 16 tackles for loss and earned 1 interception. Former Katella linebacker Joseph Inda led the charge with 12 tackles, 4 for loss, and 2 sacks. Inda's sacks resulted in a loss of 14 yards and defensive tackle Sebastian DeMartini's 1.5 sacks were worth 12 yards lost.
Defense was the main factor throughout the majority of the game as Golden West led 7-0 at halftime thanks to a recovered fumble in the end zone after a blocked punt. Both offenses woke up in the second half as Saddleback tied the game halfway through the third quarter. Jacob Gibson took over at quarterback after Nick Robinson was limited to only 30 yards and 8 completions.
Saddleback made things interesting late in the fourth quarter ting the game 17-17 on a 64-yard drive that only consisted of three plays. The first play was a screen pass from Gibson to running back Edward Vander. Good blocking and some missed tackles resulted in a gain of 49 yards. Receiver Marvin Marshall ran a jet sweep in for 11 yards to tie the game two plays later.
Despite Saddleback trying to run out the clock, the Rustlers were still able to pull off the victory. From the 46-yard-line, Adam Vance completed a pass to Zimari Manning for a 13-yard first down. What made the play even more crucial was a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty against Saddleback. This moved the ball to the opponent's 26-yard-line, which is field goal range for Conaway. After two running plays to get the clock down to two seconds, Conaway kicked his game-winner.
Besides defense, penalties were an important factor in deciding the outcome. Both teams were guilty of committing game-changing penalties. Golden West was slightly more disciplined committing 8 penalties for 90 yards. Saddleback, on the other hand, had 10 penalties for 109 yards including the one that helped Golden West mount its game-winning drive.
Next Saturday, Oct. 22, is the first true home game in Golden West Football history. The game will be on Golden West's campus at 1 p.m. Before the game, there will be a tailgate party starting at 10 a.m. All this is in celebration of Golden West's 50th anniversary.