Del Campo holds on to eliminate Whitney in playoffs 34-27

Late mistakes cost Wildcats
By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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FAIR OAKS _ Reminiscent of last week’s loss to Antelope in the Capital Athletic League title game, Whitney jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead over No. 6 seed Del Campo in the first quarter of their CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Playoff tilt Friday. But credit the Cougars, they battled back and held on for a 34-27 victory.

Whitney’s Sutter Choisser added to his senior season accolades by scoring the Wildcats’ first touchdown from 10-yards out. His junior running mate, Kwane Wilkinson then ripped through the Cougars for 21 yards and a two TD lead.

But a sluggish Del Campo offense seemed to shake off their doldrums and added seven points of their own before the first quarter ended.

The second quarter belonged to the Cougars. After Wildcats’ quarterback Drew Romo upped his club’s lead to 20-7 on a 1-yard plunge, Del Campo went on a three TD binge.

Running back Austin Brown scored his second touchdown of the evening on a 4-yard run. Wide receiver Isaac Martinez then hauled in a 64-yard TD pass from quarterback Derek Rodigo to tie the score at 20-20.

Just when it appeared the two teams would go into intermission knotted up, fullback Devante Munoz broke around right end and went 40 yards for six with just 45 seconds left in the half. Eugene Panasyuk made good on the point-after try.

Del Campo kept up the pressure in the third quarter with Josh Blumgold adding the Cougars final tally on a 3-yard run.

To open the fourth quarter, Whitney tightened things up on a 6-yard Choisser run. Trailing by just seven, the Wildcats turned to rock on defense and allowed Del Campo just 2 yards of offense on their next possession. But a lost fumble on the ensuing punt seemed to take all the air out of Whitney.

“The kids came in real confident. We played well at times,” said Whitney head coach Mike Gimenez. “The same thing in the three games we lost, just a couple key plays either way … changed the whole complexion of the game.”

Whitney had trouble slowing down the Del Campo offense after that but did not break. However, the Cougars were running precious time off the clock. Del Campo did try a field goal late in the game but the kicker’s footing gave way on the wet field and the ‘Cats got the ball back with 1:49 on the clock.

Romo hit on three passes in trying to mount a drive, but a sack followed by an interception ended any chance of a Wildcats’ comeback.

“We made some mistakes but we played hard throughout the entire game,” said senior lineman Tony Coehlo, winner of the lunch bucket award for his efforts. “We had a couple slip ups. We fought hard; we just came up short.”

The Whitney seniors shared their emotions on the field after the game while fans, family and friends congratulated them on an outstanding 8-3 season.

Wildcats          14        6          0          7 – 27

Cougars           7          20        7          0 – 34

Scoring By Quarter

First Quarter

W – Choisser 10 run (Traynor kick), 9:28

W – Wilkinson 21 run (Traynor kick), 7:22

D – Brown 16 run (Panasyuk kick), 4:22

Second Quarter

W – Choisser – 1 run (kick failed), 11:33

D – Brown 4 run (kick failed), 7:33

D – Martinez 64 pass from Rodigo (Panasyuk kick), 4:15

D – Munoz 40 run (Panasyuk kick), 0:45

Third Quarter

D – Blumgold 3 run (Panasyuk kick) 2:44

Fourth Quarter

W – Choisser 6 run (Traynor kick) 10:11