The Campolindo Football team capped its Cinderella season in Carson, California on December 17th against undefeated Washington Union High of Fresno.
The Washington Union Panthers had just one close game all year, and featured star wide receiver Deontay Greenberry, who has commited to Notre Dame. Greenberry reeled in 33 touchdowns, and amassed over 2,000 receiving yards for the season. The Panthers were the favorite.
Greenberry made his presence known early when he made a leaping touchdown catch to put the Cougars down 7-0. The catch was made over Campo’s two best Defensive Backs, Griffin Piatt and Dan Fadelli.
Campolindo responded by putting together a drive deep into Panthers’ territory on their first possession of the day. However, they were halted by the Panther’s defense on a fourth down play. This would be the first of 6 drives on which the the Cougars would push inside the Panther’s 30. However, they struggled to reach the end zone, producing just one field goal and one touchdown.
Things grew worse for the struggling Cougars, as Washington Union built a 14-0 lead after the first quarter. “We got ourselves into a hole early,” Griffin Piatt said. “But we kept our heads up and stayed focus to bring us back into the game.”
Piatt’s squad showed life after a long drive downfield resulted in a short field goal from sophomore kicker Christian Antezana, making the score 14-3. This would be the score heading into halftime.
Coach Macy knew exactly what to say to his players in the locker room at the half. “I basically just told them that all of our incredible fans did not come all the way down here to watch us play this bad. That they had been behind us all year and that we owed it to them to try and win this thing.” However, Coach Macy also knew his team was definitely dealing with a lot of fatigue after a last second NCS victory the previous week.
“It was clear that having to battle through three tough private schools on our way to our NCS victory was having a clear effect on our players, both mentally and physically. I just tried to motivate my players to find it deep within themselves to win one last game for the fans,” Macy explained.
Coming out of the tunnel for the second half, the Cougars appeared to have new life. They cut into the Panthers’ 11 point lead with a 36 yard strike to Griffin Piatt from quarterback Brett Stephens with 2:37 left on the clock in the third quarter, pushing the score to 14-10.
An interception by junior Mason Windatt gave the Cougars momentum going into the 4th quarter. Coach Macy attributed his team’s last burst of energy to the fans. “I can’t thank our fans enough for all of their loyal support this season. We could not have made it this far without them. They have definitely been a major part of the teams this year and I can’t thank them enough for that.”
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to hold off another Panthers’ touchdown with 8:36 remaining in the game, increasing their lead to 21-10. Though Mason Windatt caught a short touchdown pass with 44 seconds left on the clock, Campolindo finished their unlikely run to the state title bowl just short of perfection.