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October 28, 2009 > Trojans play for tie, take first loss

Trojans play for tie, take first loss

By Biff Jones

Milpitas High Trojans took a 6-0 record to Palo Alto High last Friday, Oct. 23, in Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) De Anza Division football action. Trojans hoped to continue their winning streak to remain as one of the top teams in the South Bay.

First quarter action saw the two teams trade punts before the Vikings got on the scoreboard first. With about five minutes left in the opening quarter, the Vikings scored on an eight-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead.

Milpitas would answer on its next possession.

Milpitas started on its own 35 yard line when PA's kickoff after their TD went out of bounds. On the drive, the Trojans would string together a series of first downs on runs by quarterback Junior London and senior running back Ben Pomele, and a pass from London to junior wide receiver Dela Hartley. With 1:28 to go in the first, London hit senior wide receiver Antonio Douglas with a 12-yard scoring pass.

It looked like Milpitas would take the lead when senior lineman Daniel Musika recovered a Viking fumble on PA's 20 yard line with just over a minute to play in the first quarter. However, two plays later, the Trojans fumbled it right back to the Vikings.

Palo Alto would jump out to a 21-7 lead in the second quarter on touchdown passes of 36 and 23 yards. After a series of punts by both teams, the Trojans got the ball on their own 20 with less than 90 seconds left in the first half. A couple of plays later, London found Hartley with a 71-yard TD pass and run, making 21-14 at the half.

To start the third quarter, another exchange of punts pinned Milpitas on its own one yard line. London got the Trojans out of trouble with a 39-yard pass completion to Pomele coming out of the back field.

During the drive, London also found senior wide receiver Kwanzaa Striplin with a 33 yard pass to the Viking 8 yard line followed by a pass to senior wide-out Michael Van Damme moving the ball to the Vikings' one. London followed with a QB sneak bringing the Trojans even at 21-21.

Palo Alto would regain the lead when London through an interception with 2:30 to go in the third quarter and the Vikings returned it 58 yards for the TD.

With 10:30 to go in the final quarter, Milpitas started a drive on its own 33. A combination of London and Pomele runs and London passes to Van Damme, Striplin and sophomore Jordan Lockett culminated with another London sneak for a touchdown, this time from two yards out tying the game.

Palo Alto would again retake the lead, 31-28, on a 27-yard field goal with 1:34 to play. Ensuing kick return by senior Jon Fullbright gave the Trojans the ball on Milpitas' 48 with 1:27 remaining.

After a series of plays and penalties, the Trojans faced a fourth and 26 from the Vikings 47 yard line. London (12-22, 310 yards, 4 TDs, 2 rush) again found the sophomore Lockett for a first down on the Vikings' eight with four seconds remaining.

Milpitas Head Coach Kelly King chose to go for a 25-yard tying field goal. On the final play, the snap from center was bobbled and when the Trojans tried to run the ball in for the winning touchdown, the Vikings held and handed Milpitas its first loss of the season, 31-28.

"We knew our kicker had the leg," said King of his decision to kick. "A tie would have kept us in first (place in SCVAL De Anza Division)."

Trojans next play a strong Wilcox of Santa Clara team (2-1 in league, 5-2 overall) in De Anza Division action, on Friday, Oct. 30, 7:30 p.m. at home. Trojans are also 2-1 in league and 6-1 overall with three league games remaining in the regular season leading to the Central Coast Section (CCS) playoffs.

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