Opinion by Ray Wolf
The Etna Lions’ Cinderella playoff run ended on Wednesday night against the second-seeded Maxwell Panthers in the NSCIF D-V championship game. Maxwell put up 14 points in the second quarter and 14 more in the fourth quarter for a 28-0 win.
While the loss will likely sting for a few days, the journey to the championship game will probably be remembered forever. Etna played a brutal preseason schedule going 2-3. The Lions’ first two Shasta Cascade League opponents wound up being the top seed and the third seed in the playoffs, Fall River and Modoc. Etna lost both of those games to drop to 2-5.
Then came the Lions march to the title game.
At home, Etna defeated Mt. Shasta 24-8 and Weed 46-6. The Lions then hit the road for the first of four straight away from Duncan Field. In the final SCL game, they beat Burney 27-0. That led to a number-four playoff points ranking. However, because Etna had lost to the fifth ranked Chester Volcanoes 20-7 in the preseason, the seeding was flopped and the Lions had to go to Chester.
The Lions went into the land of the Volcanoes and came away with a 19-14 win. The Lions not only had to overcome a good Chester team, but the recent history of having lost five straight games to the Volcanoes on the field. (After losing to Chester last season in the playoffs, Etna wound up winning by forfeit. But, psychologically, that’s definitely not the same as winning on the gridiron.)
Next was the shocker.
Etna went to McArthur and knocked off top-ranked and undefeated Fall River in a semi-final. Etna had given the Bulldogs their toughest game in the regular season, losing 47-34. That’s right, Fall River’s closest game had been a double-digit win. The Lions’ playoff win wasn’t a fluke. There was no lucky bounce, no bad call, and no major injury that led to Etna winning. There was shutdown defense from Etna, and three Lions’ touchdowns for a 20-0 victory.
Against Maxwell, the Lions again played tough defense in the first quarter, forcing two punts and a fumble. Etna recorded a few tackles for a loss, including sacks by Wade Thackeray and Marquis Pitts. It was the Lions that actually had the best early opportunity to score. (more…)Share on Facebook