RIVERSIDE – Nathan Wyse was given the choice to run or pass, and since he couldn’t throw it he had to run it.
Wyse scored from the 2-yard line with less than 20 seconds to play as Brea Olinda came from behind to defeated Norte Vista, 23-20, Friday night in a CIF-Southern Section Division 9 quarterfinal game.
“It was supposed to be a pitch into a pass and I saw my receiver open but I had my gloves and we haven’t practiced throwing it that much, so I just found the hole and stuck my nose in there,” Wyse said.
Wyse gained a team-high 87 rushing yards and scored two second-half touchdowns for Brea Olinda (7-5 overall), which moves on to play North Torrance in the semifinals next week. It’s the Wildcats’ first semifinal appearance in three seasons.
“Our kids believe that whenever there’s time on the clock we have a chance,” Brea Olinda coach Robb Perrance said. “This is huge for this group. They’ve overcome a lot this season so this is awesome.”
Jacob Moon completed 10 of 20 pass attempts for 186 yards and one touchdown, and also added two chain-moving runs on the game-winning drive for Brea Olinda, which has now won four of its last five games.
Kion Marshall had four tackles for loss and a sack on defense for the Wildcats, and threw the game-winning block ahead of Wyse on the game’s final touchdown.
“I love running behind that guy. That’s just a big dude we have,” Wyse said.
Miron Hazem scored all three touchdowns for Norte Vista (9-3), but the Braves failed to hold on to an early 14-0 lead.
Brea Olinda fumbled the ball away twice in the first quarter and Norte Vista was able to take advantage on the second, with Hazem breaking through for a 16-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.
The Braves, who rushed for nearly 300 yards in their 54-25 first round win, went to their air to take a 14-0 lead as Julian Corey used play action to buy time before hitting Hazem on a deep slant for a 38-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter.
Brea Olinda got on the scoreboard with its last drive of the second half as Moon found Austin Saucedo on 2nd-and-19 for 36 yards to move the chains, and then hurled it to the back corner of the end zone to John Geary for a 16-yard touchdown to pull within seven points at halftime.
Both teams traded field position to start the second half and after a 78-yard screen pass reception-and-run by Wyse, Brea Olinda’s Kyle O’Brien kicked a 21-yard field goal to make it 14-10 with less than 5 minutes left in the third quarter.
The Wildcats, who never trailed in their first-round win, took their first lead at 17-14 when Wyse scored on a 13-yard run with 9:07 to play in the fourth quarter.
Norte Vista countered with a 14-play, 75-yard drive capped by Hazem’s 25-yard touchdown run, but Andres Aguilera missed the extra point and the Braves led 20-17 with 1:58 to play.
“When he scored I thought, ‘Geez, that was probably too soon,’ but what are you going to do,” Batdorf said. “I think we deserve to playing next week and the week after, but we made some costly mistakes and we couldn’t stop them.”
Moon started Brea Olinda’s final drive with two incomplete passes before connecting with O’Brien for 10 yards to move the chains. Moon then ran for 12 and 13 yards on consecutive downs to move the ball into Norte Vista’s territory, and Wyse finished the job with runs of 19, 6 and 2 yards for the win.
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