Going into Saturday’s game at fourth-ranked Butte College, the Eagles had no chance for a conference championship, and a bowl game probably wasn’t going to happen. At 2-2 in the NorCal Conference and 5-4 overall, COS was just looking for an upset to finish with a winning season. When the dust settled, the Eagles had pulled it off in the final two minutes, 21-20, to end the regular season 6-4. On Sunday afternoon, the coaching staff received word that the Eagles would be hosting their third straight bowl game.
The win moved COS up from ninth to number-seven in the National Division. The Eagles will host the Shasta Knights in the Top of the State Bowl this Saturday at noon. Shasta (8-2) is ranked number-four in the American Division, and finished second in the Pacific 7 Conference. The National Conference is the higher level of the two conferences. In high school terms, think of the National as D-1 and the American as D-2.
It didn’t take long for the upset dream to look like reality on Saturday. The Eagles drove 71 yards on the first possession of the game for a touchdown. Tyler Kretschman completed four passes for 10 yards or more, including an 16-yard strike to Wyatt Houghtby, giving COS a first down at the Roadrunner two-yard-line. Two consecutive one-yard runs by Zach Floyd put the Eagles in the lead. Taylor Grimmett added the PAT, for a 7-0 advantage at 9:21.
The Eagles recovered the ball at the Butte 29, on what amounted to an onside kick following their TD. On the second play of the drive, Kretschman found Kendrick Murphy for a 27-yard TD pass play. COS added the extra point for a 14-0 lead, with 8:29 left in the opening quarter.
While the Eagle start was exceptionally strong, the NorCal Conference champion Roadrunners (4-1, 7-3) were not going down easily. With 4:21 to play in the quarter, Butte made it 14-7 on a 17-yard TD pass and conversion.
About four minutes into the second quarter, the Roadrunners added a field goal, 14-10.
With 2:22 to play in the first half, Butte took the lead 17-14 on a two-yard run and PAT.
COS attempted an onside kick to start the second half, but the Roadrunners recovered at their own 48. Butte added a field goal on the drive, extending its lead to six points, 20-14, with 11:23 on the clock.
Midway through the fourth quarter came what COS Coach Charlie Roche considers the turning point of the game. Butte gained a first down at about the COS one-yard-line, but the Eagle defense came up with a huge stand. Here is Roche’s play-by-play description: (more…)
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