Football: Balboa shocks top-seeded Mission in AAA semifinals

Balboa defenders swarm Mission quarterback Davon Hargraves in the AAA semifinals on Thursday at Kezar Stadium. (Photo by Devin Chen)

By Ernest Stone

Following a blocked punt, Mission High School got the ball on Balboa’s 8-yard line with 8:51 remaining in the game and a chance to bring the game to within a single touchdown.

Four plays and zero points later, Balboa made it clear to Mission that there was no chance for a comeback.

Whether it was Balboa’s stiffness on defense or its complex offensive schemes, Thursday’s 28-8 thumping of top-seeded and previously-unbeaten Mission in the Academic Athletic Association semifinals at Kezar Stadium avenged Balboa’s previous loss in grand fashion and proved just how much things can change in 12 days.

“All year long we had a hard time finishing games,” said Balboa senior captain Christian Pulusian. “But our team has improved so much, and our defense definitely held it down today.”

While fourth-seeded Balboa’s (5-7) defensive stand proved the team could close out games, Bucs senior running back Greg Warren proved he could take control of the contest himself.

Warren’s impact was first felt when his 20-yard touchdown run with 2:24 remaining in the second quarter put Balboa back on top 14-8, following a second-quarter surge by Mission (7-4).

Balboa senior running back Greg Warren breaks through the Mission defense in the AAA semifinals on Thursday at Kezar Stadium. (Photo by Devin Chen)

A quarter later, Warren picked up nearly half of his 154 rushing yards on a 75-yard touchdown run to push the lead to 22-8.

With Warren’s impressive effort, it even seemed as if Mission’s lone bright spot of the night, a 116-yard performance by senior running back Davonta Gaines, was overshadowed.

“We go seven straight weeks without losing, then all of the sudden we are down,” said Mission head coach Joe Albano. “The feeling was new to us, and I think our players had a hard time dealing with this situation emotionally.”
Whatever emotion the Bears possessed was drained following their failed attempt to score within 8 yards of the end zone.

Unfortunately for Mission, the Buccaneers were more reluctant to forfeit their intensity.

On the ensuing drive, senior quarterback Kerati Apilakvanichakit accented a 90-yard drive with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Pulusian, all but ending even the wildest hopes of a comeback.

For Mission, a team that assembled its best season in over 30 years with a regular season league championship, the loss should be met with some feeling of accomplishment.

As for Balboa, it will turn its attention to Washington in the AAA championship game on Thanksgiving.

“Yeah they beat us before, but I truly believe that every coach in this league does his best job to prepare his squad regardless of the history,” said Balboa head coach Alvaro Carvajal. “It takes a lot of composure to win the way we did, but as you can see in Kerati or Christian, we have the athletes to get the job done.”

Scoring Summary

First Quarter
B: 8:01 — Kerati Apilakvanichakit 8-yard run (Conversion failed)

Second Quarter
M: 8:15 — Safety
M: 4:39 — Alec Tatum 5-yard pass from Davon Hargraves (Conversion failed)
B: 2:24 — Greg Warren 20-yard run (Apilakvanichakit run on conversion)

Third Quarter
B: 4:28 — Greg Warren 75-yard touchdown run (Abraham Musalam pass from Apilakvanichakit on conversion)

Fourth Quarter
B: 5:06- Apilakvanichakit 8-yard pass to Christian Pulusian (conversion failed)

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21 Comments

  1. Congratulations to the Balboa Football Team and those that supported it.

  2. BALBOA says:

    LETS GET IT BUCS! TURKEY DAY IS OURS! LONG WEEK AHEAD OF YOU.. BUT ITLL ALL BE WORTH IT ONCE WE GET THAT HARD EARNED TITLE! BUCS!

  3. Galileo #9 says:

    Let’s go Bal. You guys can beat Wash.

  4. Tonebucs says:

    To Bal coaches and players,
    Good job!! You still have one more to go. Don’t get big-headed. Stay focused, and practice hard. Winning a Turkey Day championship is tough. I want to see 2010 added to the banner, along with my 1975 and 1976 teams.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Wheres BEAR HUNTER? i wonder if he will comment on this.

  6. Ispikes#32 says:

    LETS GO BUCS ITS OURS !!!!!

  7. Alumni Ric says:

    Make no bones about it, WE WILL BEAT WASHINGTON! Bal is right back were we belong, making T-Day an annual visit. Go Bucs!!!!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    good job bucs take the feathers off them eagles

  9. Anonymous says:

    washington is far more talented. there defense and offense will shut everything down. balboa is just limited to only 2 good players that carry the team which are chris and greg. however washington has the experience and hunger of this game. they been here before. know all about it and know what to bring . washington also has a star runningback in jeremy jetton and galen hall which not to mention all city tightend levander moore and a excellent powerful line. washington is the toughest team in the city. when i say the city i mean in the whole san francisco . id like to see st . ignitous and washington play for the championship if it were possible

  10. Anonymous says:

    talent isnt everything, but trust me when i say washington does not overshadow Balboa in “talent”. In their last meeting the score was was 24-20 and only bad field position on punts and an interception gave Wash the win by a fluke.
    When you say only 2 people carried the game that is an insult to football itself no matter what team you are addressing. Its a team sport and theres no such thing as one star dragging the others through the motions. If anything its the emotions and leadership from those one or two players that influence the game, but playing ability alone without team effort wont give you jack.
    Balboa has been playing better and better football with the time and they played their best game on thurs. against Mission. Anon is probably just a player so he doesnt know alot about the opposing team but I say for sure, Bal has more than “two good players”, is far more experienced than you think, and it certainly wont be a shut out.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Mission beat themselves. They played horrible and Bal took advantage. Last week I thought Wash would run away with the title but it looks like Bal will put up a good fight. Hope to see a great game on Thursday.

  12. LOWKEI says:

    ANONYMOUS at 2:15am … Dude you must be haVING A Fever or suffering from the flu. Your up at 2am in the morning talking.First of all i really don’t believe you go to Wash because your throwing S.I. in the mix and that will never ever happen. Bal has been averaging 28 plus points a game and their defense can’t be ran on as you (if you did go to Wash) found out the last time they met. And to say that there just two stand-outs on the team is an insult to all who plays and you with your flag league don’t count. There are eleven players per a side out there giving it their all to achieve the top honor of saying who is the greatest team ( yes,team) that played to take the title.For 48mins on Thursday the answer to your question will be settled and the best will be standing tall and proud …. No Matter Who iT may be they will play as a TEAM
    GO BAL *** GO BAL *** GO BAL *** GO BAL ***

  13. Anonymous says:

    lets beat these pigins’

  14. Anonymous says:

    Enjoy it this year but Lincolns takin it all nxt year

  15. Anonymous says:

    Lincoln couldn’t even win a game this year.

  16. BEAR HUNTER says:

    HERE I AM. comment for what? we still were champs! JUST NOT CITY CHAMPS!!!. so whoever u are that wants to no where i am. bears for life… they had the whole AAA SHOCKED. its alright trust the bears will be ballin nextyear also.. so to the AAA. GET YOUR GAME TIGHT!!!!!! ITS TIME FOR HOOPS NOW!!!!!! O WHO TOOK IT LASTYEAR? BEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. keep HATIN ON MISSION FOOLS. mission is aGREAT PROGRAM…..

  17. Anonymous says:

    very proud. show wash that they don’t stand a chance.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Mission will be losing 5 starters to graduation. Granted they are all great players and made a huge difference this year but as the last 2 JV championship seasons show, Mission has the best Sophomore and Junior classes in the City. This year was just a preview of things to come.

  19. BUCS #1 FAN says:

    We made it to TURKEY DAY Buc’s!! Great job!!! You deserve every second of it because of all your hard work!!! Great Job Coach Carvajal!!!!

  20. End Zone Grass says:

    I looked up some old AAA baseball championships and found out that Mission’s team colors used to be Pink and Green. This was at least during 1910’s. Good idea to change those colors.

  21. Tonebucs says:

    Special Teams:
    On punts; Watch out for fakes, and be sure to “protect the football”.
    On kick-offs; Watch out for an on-side kick.

    Hey Coach A,
    Next year, use a soccer player to kick XPs and FGs. :)

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