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Hilmar grad helps Ducks to Rose Bowl

POSTED November 24, 2009 11:27 p.m.
At Hilmar High, Nate Costa did a lot of big things with the football. He was the quarterback who earned all-state selection three times and led the Yellowjackets to the conference championship in 2005, when Hilmar posted a 12-1 record.
On Saturday night, it was the little things that mattered.
Many have said that it was Costa who secured the University of Oregon’s 44-41 double overtime win over the University of Arizona. It all started after quarterback Jeremiah Masoli engineered an 80-yard drive that ended in an 8-yard pass to Ed Dickson with just six seconds left in regulation. All the Ducks needed to do was execute an extra-point kick.
It should be automatic, right?
Not exactly. Saturday night’s situation was very unique, considering what was on the line: The winning team would play a Big Ten representative in the Rose Bowl, a lucrative Bowl Championship Series game, in addition to the Ducks playing in Arizona’s football stadium. What he did earned him the Pac-10’s Special Teams Player of the Week honor.
A funny thing happened after long snapper Jeff Palm snapped the ball. Costa was the holder, and he managed some damage control. The snap was low, and it could have created a disaster. However, the former Hilmar star quarterback calmly scooped the ball from the ground and placed it for kicker Morgan Flint, who nailed the extra point.
Again, the little things mattered.
The extra-point tied the game at 31-31 and forced overtime, where the Ducks prevailed. The win sets up a legendary matchup with Oregon State in what is known as the Civil War, a rivalry that began in 1894. The game is set for 6 p.m. on Thursday and scheduled to air on ESPN.
The Civil War winner will play Ohio State on Jan. 1, 2010, in Pasadena in the Rose Bowl, a situation the Ducks are thankful for after Costa saved the day.
“I wasn’t nervous until after it went through,” the junior backup quarterback said, according to The Statesman Journal. “It’s just one of those things you react to and make it happen.”
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail csun@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141.

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