Nobody in 5A wants their week 10 game to be part of the consolation groupings for teams that don’t make the 32-team playoff field.
It’s a disappointing finish for most schools, making it hard to find motivation for the final game, but Fossil Ridge didn’t have any such problem Thursday against Hinkley.
“So many times throughout this year I never thought we’d be here, but it’s great,” Fossil coach Steve Vecchio said playing week 10 outside of the playoffs. “The seniors persevered all year long and they really deserve a night like this.”
It was certainly a night to remember with a score no one is likely to forget. Fossil (3-7) finished with an astounding 74-28 win over Hinkley (2-8).
With 74 points scored comes some absurd stats, led by quarterback Travis Avila. The senior threw for 449 yards, rushed for another 76 and had six total touchdowns.
Hinkley rarely played with a safety and left their corners in one-on-one coverage all night, allowing an athletic group of Fossil receivers to be open all night.
Senior Eric Lanza had 146 receiving yards and two touchdowns, and senior Corey Peter had 106 receiving yards. The SaberCats had nine pass plays of more than 20 yards.
While the final score looked lopsided, it wasn’t always that way. Fossil only had a 34-28 lead at half. But the SaberCats made some defensive adjustments at halftime and got some injury help to pitch a second-half shutout.
Hinkley quarterback Austin Ruiz wasn’t able to play in the second half due to injury. In the first half he amassed 288 total yards and four total touchdowns. His absence forced the Hinkley offense to sputter in the second half, changing the game.
But how and why it happened wasn’t a big concern for the SaberCats; they were just happy to get the win to close out the season.
“It was just nice to go out, the seniors with a win. I had a nice game personally,” Lanza said. “I’ll always look back on football and remember these good times. It was always fun.”
Vecchio hopes that the win will not only be a final bright spot for the seniors, but also a spark for the younger players going into the offseason as they try and get the program back on the winning track.
“We’re a senior-heavy team. We knew we wanted to go out on a good note,” Avila said. “We have about 20 seniors, most of them are starting. We didn’t want to go out with a loss in our last game ever. Most of us won’t play college football and we didn’t want to go out with a loss.”