Saturday, October 16, 2021

Defence, special teams highlight Alta Loma football’s win over Claremonte

Clermont – The Alta Loma football team’s offense had the ball for all 14 plays in the first half of Thursday’s game against Claremont, hardly enough time to make much of an impact.

So it was up to the defense.

Braden Lynch’s 101-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first game of the second quarter helped ignite Alta Loma and send the Braves to a 27-8 non-league victory.

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Alta Loma (4–0) took a 3–2 lead when Claremont faced third and -5 in the Braves 7 as a chance to take the lead in the second quarter.

“We were in man coverage,” Lynch said. “The ball came in and hit Dakoda (Kinsale) and went up. I saw a place 100 yards in front of me.”

He did not consider taking a knee and took the score down the left side for a 10-2 lead.

It was one of two plays that greatly influenced Clermont’s ability to overcome upsets.

The second half came on the opening kickoff of the second half, with Alta Loma leading 10-8.

Not only did Jonathan Carrillo return Wolfpack 1 to kickoff 83 yards, but on the play, Claremont Junior quarterback Nathan Giles (who also handles kickoff duties) was injured and did not return.

“It was his off (left) shoulder,” said Claremont coach Shane Heal. “We’ll evaluate it this week. But it’s the next guy.”

Giles completed 11 of 22 passes for 140 yards and touchdowns in the first half. With Giles and Caden Campuzano trailing in the second half, Wolfpack had no passing yard and the Braves never went close to 30 in the second half.

“We’ve played a tough schedule, but we’re not making excuses,” Heil said. “Right now, we are a 1-3 football team. But I am very proud of these guys and the way we played.”

Alta Loma’s offense was able to take advantage of smaller areas (due to the defense and special teams). The Braves’ four offensive scores (two touchdowns and two field goals) came with the Claremont 26’s average starting field position on those drives.

“We barely had the ball in the first half,” said Alta Loma coach Mark Pascarella. “I thought we played well on defense. But we had a lot of penalties (114 yards), a lot more than what they did. We need to get better there.”

Nick Pascarella scored 21 and 48 yards of field goals for Alta Loma, and the Braves scored two third-quarter touchdowns on a 1-yard run by Sean Casey and Trevor Tedesco.

Even after Lynch’s interception return for a touchdown, Clermont still had a chance to tie the score. Giles threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Campuzano 53 seconds before halftime, making the deficit 10-8, but the two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful.

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