Turlock Christian (1-6 SL, 2-8) led late against the Delhi Hawks (1-6 SL, 2-8), but saw their lead slip away as the Eagles lost their final game of the season 28-15.
The Eagles, whose season has been marked by nine season-ending injuries depleting a 23-man roster to start the year, suited up just 13 players for the contest. By halftime, TC was down to 11 players – the minimum number required to take the field.
“I was really proud of our kids having played with only so few players,” said TC coach Rusty Lyon.
The Hawks jumped out to an early lead, scoring touchdowns in the first and second quarters to for a score of 14-0 at the half. But in the fourth quarter, on the heels of a 20-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Chase Gonzalez to junior running back Micah Larsson, a 4-yard touchdown pass from Gonzalez to junior running back Ethan McSweeney, and a two-point conversion from Gonzales to Larsson, the Eagles claimed a narrow 15-14 lead.
The Hawks came back to score two touchdowns in the final five minutes of the game, on a long 54-yard pass and a 55-yard run, to end the contest at 28-15.
Despite the tough season and loss, Lyon remains encouraged for next year. By the end of the year, only four of the starting 13 were seniors, leaving an experienced underclass squad ready for 2011.
At the top of that class is Gonzalez, who finished 22 for 48 with two touchdowns.
“He came into his own tonight,” Lyon said. “He played his absolute best game.”
With the loss, the Eagles end their season tied for second to last place in the Southern League with Delhi.
Wildcats drop Coyotes in league finale
The bad news: the Denair Coyotes (6-4, 5-2 SL) lost their final regular season game at home on Friday to the Waterford Wildcats (8-2, 5-2 SL) 42 -23.
The good news: even with the loss, the Coyotes have qualified for the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoffs. Brackets will be released today.