The No. 4 Snowflake Lobos broke a 28-28 tie with two touchdowns in the final seven minutes to defeat visiting No. 5 Blue Ridge in the second round of the AIA Division 3A Football playoffs on Friday, Nov. 8.
Running backs Brig Turley, a senior, and junior Terren Green combined for 400 of the Lobos’ 409 rushing yards. Turley led the way with 27 carries for 259 yards and four touchdowns.
“Our line did outstanding this year. They do it all,” Turley said. “Terren and I can’t take a whole lot of credit, because they do the dirty work. Terren’s blocks are awesome too so I give them the credit.”
The Lobos received the opening kickoff and promptly drove 73 yards to open the scoring. Turley ran 16 yards for a touchdown to cap the drive. Samuel Crockett, who was 4-for-4 kicking PAT’s, added the extra point to make it 7-0 with 8:36 left in the first quarter.
Snowflake’s Coy Swartz intercepted a Blue Ridge pass on the next series to give the Lobos the ball 39 yards away from paydirt.
Six plays later Lobo quarterback Ethan Ramage threw to Caleb Lyman for a 16-yard TD pass and Snowflake took a 14-0 lead with 3:17 left in the first period.
Blue Ridge came right back with a 65-yard scoring drive. P.J. London scored on a 12-yard quarterback keeper on the first play of the second quarter and the Jackets cut the lead to 14-7.
But the Lobos responded with a 12-play, 80-yard scoring drive. Turley’s 10-yard TD run capped the drive with 7:02 left in the first half.
Snowflake’s defense forced a quick three-and-out and the Lobos got the ball back again. But on the first play of the series. London intercepted a pass and Blue Ridge took over at the Lobo 30 yard line. Eleven plays later, Damon Mitchell ran for a 1-yard TD with 23 seconds left and Snowflake led 21-14 at the half.
The Yellow Jackets wasted little time in tying the game at the beginning of the second half. The Jackets received the second-half kickoff and three plays later, London connected with Jimmy Wallace on a 75-yard TD pass. London’s PAT made it 21-21 with 10:10 left in the third period.
But Snowflake responded with an eight-play, 72-yard scoring drive to retake the lead. Turley capped the series with an 8-yard TD run and the Lobos led 28-21 with 7:06 to play in the third.
Then the Jackets responded with an 11-play, 64-yard scoring drive to tie the game once more. London, in the grasp of a Lobo defender, extended the ball across the goal line on a 7-yard keeper, and after his PAT, the game was tied 28-28 with 3:06 left in the third.
Snowflake lost possession on a fumble on the first play of the ensuing series and Blue Ridge, with the ball at the Lobo 40, had an opportunity to take the lead. The Jackets had a first down at the Snowflake 10, but after two penalties and a sack by Lobo defender Payson Cardon, Blue Ridge lost possession on downs at the Lobo 12.
Snowflake then marched 88 yards in 14 plays to take the lead for good. Green ran for an 8-yard TD to cap the series, and the Lobos led 34-28 after a failed two-point conversion attempt with 6:58 left.
Following a Blue Ridge punt on the next series, the Lobos added a touchdown for insurance when Turley raced 60 yards on the first play. Caden Cantrell ran for the two-point conversion to make it 42-28 with 4:55 left.
Blue Ridge turned the ball over on downs seven plays later and the Lobos knelt on the ball to run out the clock.
“I’ve got to give it to P.J.,” Turley said. “He played a great game tonight. We just wanted to switch up the coverage on defense. We didn’t want him to run around in that backfield forever like he did last time we played (a 29-17 Snowflake win on Oct. 4).”
Green had 141 yards and a TD on 19 carries. Ethan Ramage completed eight of 12 passes for 106 yards and a TD, as Snowflake’s offense rolled for 515 total yards.
Blue Ridge had 343 total yards. Junior P.J. London led the Jackets with 56 rushing yards and two touchdowns and an 11-of-18 passing effort for 190 yards and another score. Jimmy Wallace was his top receiver with two catches for 78 yards and a TD. Ethan Marbello had 55 rushing yards on 13 carries and Damon Mitchell (10-17) ran for a touchdown.
London had 18 total tackles and intercepted a pass to lead the Jackets’ defense. Austin Slaughter, Hershall Gregg and Ryan Cox each had 12 total tackles. Jacob Kern recovered a Lobo fumble.
The Lobos jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, but Blue Ridge battled back and cut the lead to 21-14 with a touchdown in the final minute of the first half. The Jackets tied the game twice in the second half.
But the Lobos kept the chains moving with 26 first downs and never had to punt.
“It starts up front. The O-line took care of business tonight,” said Snowflake head coach Kay Solomon. “Brig and Terren do a good job of finding holes; they did an awesome job.
Green led the Snowflake defense with 16 total tackles, including seven solo. Coy Swarts (11 tackles) intercepted a pass. Payson Carson (seven tackles) and Bradly Ruiz (six tackles) each had a sack.
“P.J. is tough to track down and tough to get a hat on. Our kids managed to do enough to beat them when it counted,” Coach Solomon said.
Blue Ridge ends the season with nine wins and three losses.
Snowflake improved to 10-2 overall and will face No. 1 Queen Creek Benjamin Franklin in the semifinals this Saturday, Nov. 16, at Gilbert Williams Field High. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.
The teams played in Queen Creek on Aug. 30 and the Chargers defeated the Lobos 43-21.
“Ben Franklin is another really good team,” Solomon said. “They are not the biggest line out there but they are a disciplined line. And their skill guys have breakaway speed.
“It won’t be 110 degrees when we kick off this time I don’t think. We are a lot better than we were at that time of the season, so we are going to work hard to get ready and see what we can do,” said the coach.