Heretofore perfection for Selma High School this football season closed with drama, heartbreak and one very bold move that went awry.
Instead of settling for a tie and probable overtime, Bears coach Matt Logue went for a two-point conversion with 1:02 remaining. But a subsequent incomplete pass resulted in a 28-27 loss to Bakersfield Christian in the CIF Southern California Regional Division IV-AA Bowl on Friday night at Staley Stadium.
Selma (13-1), which led 21-7 at halftime, had pulled within one on a 44-yard touchdown pass from Junior Ramirez to Joel Aranda when Logue called their same numbers in an attempt to win it.
All of the estimated 5,000 fans then stood as Ramirez rolled right, released and had his pass go wide and off the hands of Aranda on the right edge of the end zone.
Bakersfield Christian’s Jeremiah Foster recovered an onside kick, quarterback Braden Wingle kneeled with two snaps, and it was over as the Eagles advanced to host Campolindo-Moraga next Saturday for the state title. Campolindo (11-3) beat Palma-Salinas 30-21 in the North IV-AA Bowl.
“We’re going for two in that situation every time,” Logue said. “There’s a minute to go, we just hit a big TD and we have momentum. Our guy was open and our quarterback had one sail on him. He’s been phenomenal all year and he played tremendous again. I’d do the thing again.”
183 Passing yards for Bakersfield Christian’s Braden Wingle, on 12-of-26 passing with two touchdowns, after a 1-for-9 first half
The Bears tied the school record for wins. Only their Vic Ecklund-coached 13-0 team of 1980 won as many, according to section historian Bob Barnett.
A 14th win appeared in order after Selma commanded the first half with stunning defense on Wingle and wide receiver Foster.
Wingle, a 6-foot-5 junior who entered with 4,055 passing yards and 43 touchdowns, went 1 for 9 for 8 yards in the first half. And the completion was meaningless eight seconds before halftime.
Foster, 6-3 and 190 pounds, was shut out in the first half and finished with one catch for 8 yards while being defended in single coverage by 5-10, 140-pound Sergio Pena. Foster came in with 85 receptions for 1,609 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Wingle, however, opened the second half with a 78-yard scoring strike to Alex Wallace en route to going 11 for 16 in the second half. He finished with 183 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown to Wallace for a 21-21 tie with 5:05 remaining in the third quarter.
The Eagles (13-1), coached by Darren Carr and with an offense coordinated by brother David, took a 28-21 lead early in the fourth quarter when Stephen Figures returned an interception 77 yards. It was thrown by Rudy Rodriguez, who, as a holder in field-goal formation, had the snap slip slightly in his hands, got up, rolled right and released a short, desperate heave when in the grasp of a defender and nearly on the ground.
Selma’s crowd, accounting for a good 3,500 of the total, had hardly settled in when the Bears bolted to a 14-0 lead in just over four minutes.
Actually, those fans sat little as the Bears received the opening kickoff – returned 37 yards by Aranda – and scored in four plays as 6-5 Tiveon Stroud broke two tackles and bolted 29 yards up the middle.
We’re going for two in that situation every time.
Selma coach Matt Logue, on his decision to go for a winning conversion pass rather than a tying PAT kick
Bakersfield Christian then turned it over on its first play as Jordan Dominguez stripped running back Brock Holloway, with Chris Romero recovering on the Eagles’ 35.
Ramirez completed a 26-yard pass to Rodriguez on third and 13. Two plays later, Ramirez found Aranda in the back right of the end zone from 14 yards and Felipe Garcia’s PAT put Selma ahead 14-0 with 7:57 remaining in the first quarter.
Bakersfield Christian responded with a 10-play, 82-yard drive and a 5-yard touchdown run by Holloway, reducing the gap to 14-7, 37 seconds into the second quarter.
Further, the Eagles had possession, momentum and facing fourth and 9 on the Selma 46 when Figures, on a fake punt, was nailed for no gain by Klay Carrasco and Abraham Rangel.
Selma made it 21-7 with 3:39 left in the half when Dominguez – who closed his career with a final fabulous performance at fullback and linebacker – scored from 6 yards after converting a third and 3 with a 16-yard run.