Thriller over on the Delta
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RIO VISTA — Daniel Lesher’s 80-yard touchdown kickoff return midway into Friday’s third quarter at Rio Vista sparked the Golden Sierra in its exciting 21-20 Sierra Delta League football victory over the Rams.
After Rio Vista took a 12-7 lead on Bryan Peters’ 1-yard run with 6:17 left in the third, Lesher took the ensuing kickoff up the middle, then down the Grizzlies’ sidelines for the lead. Brian Cann booted the extra-point to make it 14-12 in favor of the Griz (3-1, 3-5).
“I saw I had to only beat one man, got to the outside of him, beat him and I was gone from there,” said Lesher. “It was awesome blocking by the wedge.”
Golden Sierra coach John Hilton added, “I think it was a huge spark for us. When we came out in the second half, Rio Vista came out with a lot of energy. Daniel was able to find the hole and break it. It was huge for our morale and our energy.”
Rio Vista (3-2, 7-2) scored its last touchdown with 3:01 left in the third when Chace Marlowe scored on a 2-yard run. The Rams were successful on the 2-point conversion for a 20-14 lead.
Golden Sierra scored the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. Capping an 11-play 65-yard drive, Griz running back Brenden Nutt scored on a 14-yard off-tackle play with 5:05 left. Cann booted the extra-point that gave the Grizzlies the lead and ultimate win.
Defense was huge for Grizzlies in the last quarter. Though Rio Vista finished with 277 total offensive yards, the Rams mustered just 19 over the final 12 minutes as Cameron Stephens intercepted a pass and linebacker Jeff Klahn sacked Ram quarterback Ryan Mackey on fourth down at the Grizzlies’ 33-yard line on Rio Vista’s last offensive possession.
“Defense stepped up,” Hilton said. “I think we came out and did some real good things. Our defense was able to play hard. We did a real good job on the last drive.”
Lesher felt the game was intense from opening kickoff to Klahn’s sack.
“We definitely came together as a family,” Lesher said. “We’ve been challenged a lot throughout the season. Tonight we showed we can do it, get the job done.”
Rio Vista scored its first touchdown when Mackey rolled out of the pocket and hit Marlowe on a 5-yard pass with 7:14 left in the first quarter.
Cann, behind the offensive line of Conner Jansen, Korey Hensman, Trevor Pedri, Justin Eicher, Casey Blakely and tight ends Sam Steward and Nick White, scored the Grizzlies’ first touchdown with 7:02 left in the second quarter on a 54-yard run.
Nutt had 11 carries for 33 yards. Golden Sierra had most of its yardage
Golden Sierra is in the driver’s seat toward clinching a Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth but the Grizzlies must win their final two league games: at home this week against Encina and at San Juan the following week.
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.