Acorns run out of time

As seconds tick off clock, no time for field goal
With the ball on their opponent’s 22-yard line and 15 seconds
left, they could have taken a shot at the end zone. They also could
have thrown to the sideline to stop the clock.
As seconds tick off clock, no time for field goal

With the ball on their opponent’s 22-yard line and 15 seconds left, they could have taken a shot at the end zone. They also could have thrown to the sideline to stop the clock.

Instead, the Live Oak football team opted to throw a slant pass over the middle and ended up paying the price. Time expired as the Acorns scrambled to get their field-goal unit onto the field for a short kick that would have iced the team’s first victory of the season.

“We tried to break the ice and it cracked,” said Live Oak Coach Glen Webb after witnessing Friday’s 20-20 tie against North Monterey County. “This one hurt because it was so close, but it was better than a loss.”

Then Webb defended his play calling.

“We needed seven to 10 yards to feel comfortable (for a field goal attempt),” said Webb. “And a slant pass is the best percentage pass. In practice, for the 15 or so years that I have been here, we have worked on scoring a field goal in eight to 10 seconds-exactly this situation. We thought we had enough time.”

The Acorns mostly likely would have had there not been confusion on the part of an Acorn receiver who acts as the team’s holder on field-goal attempts. But as time ticked off the clock, he ran into a receiver set.

“He just had a brain freeze,” said Webb. “He messed up. But he’s also the guy who caught the slant for us on the play before to get us into position to win the game.”

For the season, the Acorns are now 0-3-1 and will be looking for their first win tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Salinas against the Alisal High School. The Trojans have a record of 2-2.

“We have been working hard on defense all week to prepare for Alisal,” said Webb. “They run a wing-T offense. It’s something that we haven’t seen.”

And the last thing the Live Oak defense needs right now is to be uncomfortable. Last week, the Acorns gave up 330 yards to the Condors-but looked stellar at times.

“But not at the right times,” said Webb. “We stopped them only one time on a third down and long attempt. They were seven of eight on third down.”

Live Oak had 290 yards of total offense-150 on the ground and 140 in the air.

Against North County, the Acorns fell behind early when Adrian Machuca scored on a 1-yard run up the middle. The nine-play scoring drive started at mid-field as a result of an interception that was thrown by Live Oak’s Orin Catrett.

With the score 6-0, Live Oak got the ball back at their own 21 and looked as though they would take the lead thanks to a one-two combination of solid running by Daniel Salinas and Keith Cooke. The impressive, 70-yard drive was nullified, however, when Cooke fumbled on his way to the goal line.

The Acorns did manage to take the lead early in the second quarter when Salinas returned a punt 68 yards, which made the score 7-6.

Monterey scored minutes later, courtesy of a 45-yard scamper into the end zone. After another missed extra point, Live Oak entered the locker room trailing 12-7 at the half.

In the second half, the momentum shifted early. Live Oak’s Bryan Jones recovered a fumble at the Condor’s 34-yard line on the opening drive of the third quarter. Minutes later, the Acorns took a 14-12 lead when Catrett hooked up with Greg Davis on a 25-yard touchdown strike.

With the Acorns in the lead, the crowd at Richert Field came to life.

After the defense stuffed North County on its next drive, Live Oak put together a scoring drive that was capped with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Catrett to Conner. The key to keeping the drive alive was a 15-yard penalty imposed on the Condors’ sideline, precision passes by Catrett and the exceptional running efforts by Cooke.

For the night, Cooke had 87 yards rushing. For the season, Catrett has already thrown for nearly 700 yards and has five touchdown passes to his credit.

With the score 20-12 it looked as though the Acorns would get their first win, but North County tied the knotted the game up at 20-20 when Armando Rodriguez burst into the end zone on a three-yard run. After a successful two-point conversion, the game went back and forth until the Acorns’ mishap in the closing seconds that should have won them the game.

“We’re playing better every week,” said Webb. “And we’re going to get that win one day. It’s going to happen we just need to keep grinding it out.”

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