Big plays, turnovers cost Peewees in title loss to Brentwood |

Big plays, turnovers cost Peewees in title loss to Brentwood

Steve Yingling

REDWOOD CITY – One swift player can make a huge difference in a Pop Warner football game.

South Lake Tahoe’s Peewees were dominating the line of scrimmage and controlling time of possession until fleet-footed receiver Mark Henry turned a West Coast Division III regional championship game Saturday.

Henry caught 47- and 74-yard touchdown passes in the second quarter and added a game-clinching 21-yarder late in the fourth quarter as the Brentwood Oakley Falcons defeated South Lake Tahoe 34-18 at Woodside High School.

“He’s a good outside runner. We had a couple of big plays that we let go. You take those back and our turnovers and we win this game handily,” said South Lake Tahoe assistant coach Scott Morgan.

Rigel Garman and Cody Shindelbower combined to rush for 292 yards and three scores as Junior Vikings displayed the dominant rushing game that made them Sagebrush Division III champions.

South Lake Tahoe (9-2), however, hurt its chances with a season-high five turnovers, including two deep in Brentwood territory during the opening 20 minutes.

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Christian Jasch recovered a fumble at the Brentwood 21 and Nicholas Clemente pounced on a bad South Lake Tahoe exchange at its 17 to avert a significant early deficit.

But a Brentwood turnover set up the game’s first score. Following a fumble recovery at Brentwood’s 27, Garman ran 12 and 10 yards on sweeps to move the Junior Vikings to the 5. Following the block of Kevin Capone, Garman crashed into the end zone for a 5-yard score.

Brentwood, however, didn’t take long to answer. Following an unsuccessful South Lake Tahoe onside kick, James Policastro swung a pass to Henry behind the line of scrimmage, and Henry did the rest. Henry slipped past two tacklers and sprinted down the sideline with the tying score. Kyle Gaffett tacked on the two-point kick, giving Brentwood an 8-6 lead with 4 minutes, 37 seconds left before halftime.

After a nine-play South Lake Tahoe drive was halted at the Brentwood 26, Henry struck again. With only 2.7 seconds left in the half, Henry got behind the Junior Vikings on an out pass and Castro hit him in stride for a 14-6 lead. Tyler Nesbitt kept it a one-score difference by blocking the kick.

“A couple of broken plays made it work for them,” said South Lake Tahoe quarterback Tyler Slater.

Brentwood made Henry the focal point of the offense in the second half, using him on halfback option passes and at running back. Henry’s 20-yard run and Jovanni Colon’s 15-yard run set up Jordan Peralta’s 1-yard touchdown plunge with 2:24 left in the third quarter. Gaffett’s kick put Brentwood in front 22-6.

South Lake Tahoe, however, didn’t consider quitting, pulling within 22-12 with its trademark power game. Following a 12-yard return by Jake Braun and a 9-yard run by Shindelbower, Shindelbower outran Chase Trevino up the middle for a touchdown.

“When they tried playing smash-mouth football with us, we owned them,” Morgan said.

The teams traded turnovers early in the fourth period and then Brentwood took control when the Junior Vikings turned the ball over on downs on their 18.

Brentwood used some third-down trickery to set up its fourth score. After catching a out pass, Matthew Cook handed it off to Henry, who swiveled his way to the 2-yard line. Hunter Lau knocked the ball out of Henry’s hands as he neared the goal line, but Henry retrieved the ball. The play set up a 2-yard TD run by Charlie Remer, giving Brentwood a 28-12 lead.

The Junior Vikings had two more big plays in them. Garman took a handoff up the middle, then broke outside into daylight on his way to a 58-yard touchdown.

“We never gave up,” Nesbitt said. “We kept our heads high and our team played with heart, which is the most important thing.”

Trailing 28-18 with 3:35 remaining, South Lake Tahoe needed a turnover and got one when Shindelbower recovered a fumble at his 43. But Brentwood picked off an ensuing pass, and Henry clinched the championship victory with his third touchdown.

“We put all of our effort into it, but there were a couple of things we could have done better,” Lau said.

Linemen Capone, Lau, Michael Scaramella, Connor Cason, Matt Villescas, C.J. Daniel and Hunter Morgan paved the way for a 149-yard rushing output by Garman and 143 by Shindelbower.

The Junior Vikings didn’t shed any tears following their second defeat of the season. They looked forward to playing some more football in the future.

“It was fun and our team was really good. We should always come back out and try and try,” Slater said.