By GERARDO RECINOS
Anyone who has ever played the sport of football knows it’s really hard to score if you don’t have the ball.
The freshman boys, who have been flying high all season, have a chink in their armor now after a 36-21 loss over the Dougherty Valley Wildcats in their final home game of the season on Thursday night.
The Wildcats, on the shoulders of their tailback, held the ball for most of the battle with the Bulldogs, including a crushing 99-yard drive that saw them hold the ball for 6:39.
The drive gave the Bulldogs virtually no time on the ball to make anything happen in the dying seconds of the game.
Alhambra was stricken by turnovers, including four interceptions, but managed to stay with the Wildcats, who played in almost as opposite a style of football as they could.
Dougherty Valley handed the ball off on probably 90 percent of their plays, and out-possessed the Bulldogs by a large margin.
The only lead the Bulldogs held was in the first quarter when quarterback Aaron Hern scampered into the end zone with 6:23 on the clock from four yards out. After that, they trailed the rest of the way.
Dougherty Valley’s big running back scored three times in the first half alone, with Alhambra only able to answer back on Hern’s run and a 2-yard score by Tyler Boyce.
After forcing an Alhambra turnover three plays into the second half, Dougherty used the excellent field position to score, this time through the air for their only passing touchdown of the evening.
They would score again in the fourth quarter on the shoulders of their star running back, who broke tackles for fun, and could not be brought down by Alhambra’s defenders. He shrugged off arm-tacklers and once he found open space, turned the jets on.
The drive that started at the beginning of the fourth quarter looked like a promising turning point. Alhambra punter Michael Trapani pinned the Wildcats at their own 1-yard line, and his teammates and coaches praised his effort. They urged the defense to make a play as the Wildcats started off in the shadow of their own end zone.
Methodically and in an anti-climactic fashion, Dougherty Valley moved the ball like a machine finely tuned for success. Their drive not only erased any opportunity for any comeback, but negated any excitement that could have been derived from the following Alhambra drive, in which the team marched down the field and scored in exactly one minute.
A failed onside kick attempt later, Dougherty Valley had sealed the victory that leaves them on the verge of a one-loss season, and a Diablo Foothill Athletic League crown.
Although it isn’t a real trophy, the Wildcats have earned it.
The Bulldog freshman boys will take on Las Lomas on the road in their season finale after a bye week on Oct. 30, 2015. The Knights are 4-3-1 overall on the season, and 2-2 in DFAL play.