STOCKTON — El Dorado High football coach Joe Volek felt there would be a point in his team’s nonleague game against defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI champion Brookside Christian where they’d need an extra touchdown — if the Cougars were ahead.
The Cougars did just that and then some.
Hanging onto a 37-32 lead in a see-saw game, Cougar defensive back Colby Harrington picked off a pass and raced 45 yards for a touchdown to increase their lead to 44-32. El Dorado (2-1) went on to post a 64-40 win over Brookside Christian (0-2) at Lincoln High.
“If we can do that, that would be the breaking point,” Volek said about the need to keep scoring.
Harrington stepped in front of pass thrown by Knights’ quarterback Austin Calderon and raced into the end zone with 6:08 left in the third quarter. The extra-point kick was good to cushion the Cougars’ lead to 44-32.
“I kept in the flat and I picked him (Calderon) up,” said Harrington of his pick returned for the score. “I was just doing my job, but the team helped out a lot.”
Brookside Christian trimmed El Dorado’s lead to 44-40 at the start of the final quarter when Calderon completed a 14-yard strike Edrico Oliver Jr. with 11:08 left on the clock. The Knights went for the 2-point conversion, as Calderon tossed to Blake Smallie.
On the ensuing drive, El Dorado rebuilt its lead to 51-40 when running back Derek Delfino scored on an 11 yard run with 9:54 left.
Cougars defensive back Talen Vancleave picked off a Calderon pass at the Knights’ 30 yard line that set up El Dorado’s next touchdown. After two running plays from Logan Kirby (23 carries, 208 yards), the Cougars increased their lead when Delfino scored on a 5-yard run with 8:26 left. Brandon Eldridge’s extra-point boot was good to make it 58-40.
The Knights went three and out and punted, leading to the Cougars’ final touchdown. Starting at Brookside Christian’s 47 yard line, El Dorado took seven plays to cross the plane when Kirby scored on a 3-yard run with 4:23 left.
“It’s nice to get one of those wins against a team that wins a section championship,” Volek said.
El Dorado led 29-26 at halftime, but Brookside Christian took the second half opening kickoff, established a long 14-play drive that ended when Oliver Jr. was at the end of another Calderon scoring pass of 2 yards with 9:02 left in the third quarter to take a 32-29 lead.
The resilient Cougars scored the go ahead touchdown to take a 37-32 lead when quarterback Nick Bonniksen found Zach Culp on a 25-yard toss with 7:10 left.
Brookside Christian led 12-8 after the first quarter. El Dorado’s first touchdown in the quarter was a 6-yard run from Bonniksen with 6:30 left. Bradley Schmidt hit Kirby on the 2-point conversion for an 8-0 lead. The Knights scored two touchdowns on a 55-yard fumble recovery and a 6-yard pass from Calderon to Cameron Chew.
The Cougars and Knights traded leads in the second quarter. El Dorado took the lead again at 14-12 at the start of the second quarter when Bonniksen hit Culp from 21 yards. The lead exchanged hands again as the Knights took an 18-14 lead when Calderon hit Zachery Cooper on a 13-yard pass.
El Dorado made it 21-18 when Delfino scored on a 2-yard run. The Knights went up 26-21 on a 7-yard pass from Calderon to Oliver Jr., but the Cougars took the lead before halftime when Bonniksen again found Culp in the end zone on a 9-yard scoring pass.
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or [email protected] Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.