Football: Falcons edge Homestead 10-7 for CCS berth; team to play Burlingame Friday

November 16, 2009 — by David Eng

Coming off of Homecoming week’s 48-13 drubbing of Cupertino High, Saratoga football entered Friday night’s game against the Homestead Mutstangs poised to secure a spot in the CCS playoffs.

With a win the Falcons could guarantee a playoff bid, in addition to knocking Homestead out of contention. Entering the contest with a 4-5 record, a win could also boost their regular season winning percentage to an even .500.

“In some ways, the season played out like we thought it was going to. We pretty much knew it might come down to Week 10, and it did,”said second-year head coach Tim Lugo.

However, he was not frustrated by the fact that the final week became a must-win for his squad. Although he regretted losing the possibly pivotal game to Santa Teresa in Week 1, Lugo stayed centered.

“There are 80 teams out there that are planning on turning in their equipment on Monday and we may do that, but at least we have something to play for,” said Lugo prior to the game.

As it happened, the Falcons will have to keep their equipment a while longer. With their 10-7 victory over the Mustangs, the Falcons are heading to the playoffs.

The win was highlighted by a clutch fourth-quarter comeback, fueled by a sudden offensive outburst.

Losing 7-0 on a first-quarter Homestead touchdown, the Falcons opened the final period of regulation with vengeance. They drove down the field to the 24-yard line, well within the field goal range of junior kicker Peter Auvil, who split the uprights for the field goal.

Still down 7-3, the final scoring drive of the game was one to remember.

Scrambling out of the pocket well back in Saratoga’s own territory, senior quarterback Vincent Cartsens hooked up with senior tailback Grant Thomas for a monster 56 yard gain to the 5 yard line. This under-pressure play set up Thomas for his game-winning touchdown run.

Thomas rushed for 83 yards in the game and a touchdown. He has now ran for a touchdown in each of his last three games.

“Homestead has a couple of really good players. Defensively, we’re going to put 10 guys in the box and dare them to pass because they don’t want to throw the ball,” said Lugo before the game. “They throw about four times a game.”

The defense obviously did an outstanding job of adhering to the game plan and containing the high-octane Mustang running game, holding them to a measly seven first-quarter points and minimal yardage for the rest of the way.

Saratoga will play its first round CCS opponent, Burlingame, this Friday, Nov. 20. The teams figure to be pretty evenly matched, as Burlingame also beat Homestead by a slim margin and was pounded by Palo Alto.

“A lot of kids are really excited,” said Carstens.

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