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Monday, March 27, 2023

Wilcox edged out St Ignatius to reach CCS Division II championship football game

SANTA CLARA – The Central Coast Section Division II football semi-final between St. Ignatius and host Wilcox entered the final quarter with a result of doubt.

Who was the creator of the game winning play?

Enter Andrew Palacios.

Running, Junior saw a slight opening to the left as he took a handoff behind the line of scrimmage. He bolted through the hole and covered 74 yards for the decisive touchdown in a 20–13 Wilcox win.

Of the play, which had 8 minutes, 17 seconds left, Palacios said, “My line did a great block right there, it was open, and I just took off.” “I tried to go as fast as I could to get the touchdown.”

Wilcox’s coach Paul Rosa said, “Backer jumped differently the first time around and (Palacios) made a really good cut.” “Our center (Angelo de los Santos) made a big block, cut the other backer, who sprung up (Palacios).

“He’s the hardest worker I’ve ever been as a coach. He’s in the weight room all the time,” Rosa said of Palacios.

No. 3 seed Wilcox (8-4) will play No. 4 seed Menlo in the Division II championship game next week. Menlo defeated No. 1 seed San Benito 45-35 on Friday night.

The Chargers had a hard time finding any fixture on Friday night’s offensive as they scored four turnovers (including three fumbles as losers). But Wilcox’s defense closed St Ignatius after the 4:32 mark of the second quarter and restricted the Wildcats (5-7) to a total of 26 yards running into the game.

“Our defense stepped in big time,” Rosa said. “I was proud of my guys, how they just hang in there and keep playing even when bad things happen.”

At the start of the game, it looked like Wilcox could take a big lead. After a three-and-out by St. Ignatius (which included a sack by Wilcox’s Alijah Diaz), Luther Glenn of the Chargers took 42 yards of his team’s first offensive play for a touchdown. Both Glenn and Palacios were on top of 100 yards running into the game (Palacios’s game-high was 109, Glenn’s was also 100).

But Wilcox made his first turnover when a bouncing punt hit a Chargers player in the back and St. Ignatius retrieved the ball. The Wildcats’ passing attack then intensified, and the new drive ended with a 21-yard touchdown pass from McAndrews to Shane Crispen. But a high snap on the PAT resulted in a tackle behind the line of scrimmage, and Wilcox took a 7-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Wilcox took a 13-6 advantage in the second quarter when quarterback Armand Johnson fooled the defense with a great fake handoff before moving the ball 36 yards into the end zone. But the PAT kick hit the right crossbar.

St Ignatius did not take long to level the score. McAndrews sent a long pass from the left to Crispen, who pulled it in and sprinted for a 78-yard touchdown, with 4:32 remaining in the half.

In the third quarter the teams traded interceptions on the first two drives of the half, then St Ignatius’ Connor Lund recovered a fumble on Wilcox’s next possession. A pair of three more outs followed in a scoreless period.

But after St. Ignatius’ 26-yard field goal effort was abandoned early in the fourth quarter, Palacios’ touchdown run broke the tie. Another pair of three-and-out followed before St Ignatius began the final campaign of the game.

World Nation News Desk
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