Monte Vista tops Foothill, 26-21

Battle of unbeatens in North Coast Section's East Bay Athletic League goes to the Mustangs, their All-American quarterback and their fleet corps of wide receivers

Kyle Wright's passing stats looked pretty good for his Monte Vista of Danville football team on Friday night against host Foothill of Pleasanton.

The 6-3, 190-pounder who has committed to Miami connected on 12 of 17 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns as the Mustangs won a showdown of unbeatens, 26-21, over the Falcons.

But as Kyle and anybody else who witnessed the game, those stats had very little to do with his arm strength or his feathery touch. It had more to do with the quick feet and sprinter speed of his two primary receivers, Sam DaSa and Kale Turner.

With Monte Vista locked in a 14-14 tie in the third quarter with Foothill, Wright and his team faced a third down and 23 situation from its own 9-yard line. He zipped a short spiral to his right toward DaSa in the flat. DaSa made the catch, then spun toward the middle of the field and found some running room. He broke two tackles 60 yards down field and completed a 91-yard touchdown play.

"There are no special plays when it's 3rd and 23 from where we were on the field," Wright said. "We definitely didn't have anything planned like that. Sometimes you have to be lucky more than good."

DaSa, who competed in last year's CIF state track meet as a sprinter and who has committed to Cal, recalled he's had a longer touchdown catch in his career. But he admitted the significance of it was perhaps unequaled.

"That was only designed to get some good yards and not go all the way to the house," he said. "But I got some good downfield blocking and was able to take it the distance. It definitely changed the tempo of the game."

Turner is DaSa's partner in crime, so to speak, and made his presence felt a few minutes later. After Foothill was turned back on a fumble recovery by Nick Promessi, the Mustangs took over near midfield just after the start of the fourth quarter. Taking a receiver screen pass from Wright, Turner broke back across the field and scored on a 49-yard touchdown.

Foothill sliced into Monte Vista's 26-14 lead with 9:03 left on a four-yard run by Scott Gephart. The Falcons also had two chances for a go-ahead touchdown later in the final quarter. One drive was stopped on a fourth-down run-stuffing tackle by linebacker Matt Russi. The second drive was more desparate as Foothill had no timeouts left and less than a minute to play. The final pass into the end zone was broken up by Turner.

"We struggled a little bit in the second quarter, but that's why they make the game two halves," Wright said. "We can't just stop doing what we were doing. We never lost confidence."

Wright scored Monte Vista's first touchdown on a one-yard run and set up the second with his passing. That score came on a one-yard run by junior Tom Haug, who has become a real workhorse for the Mustangs and gives them just enough of a running threat to keep defenses honest.

Foothill tied the game by finally putting together a scoring drive late in the second quarter, then scoring again on the opening series of the third quarter. Justin Barker, who completed 22 of 36 passes for 271 yards, threw an 11-yard scoring pass to Joey Munn and had a 14-yarder to Mike Spencer to account for those points. Foothill's other touchdown came on a 4-yard run by Gephart.

Monte Vista improved to 6-0 with the win and will now start to build toward a matchup at the end of the regular season against San Ramon Valley, also of Danville. There are other fairly strong teams in the East Bay Athletic League, but if San Ramon Valley gets by Foothill the two teams will both be 9-0 heading into that game.

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