By Bonta Hill
After a disappointing loss to Washington last week, visiting Mission High School possibly played its most complete game of the season, beating Lincoln 46-20 on Saturday to secure second place in the Academic Athletic Association.
“I told our team that we needed to have a short memory and move past last week’s loss,” said Mission head coach Joe Albano. “Our offense was clicking better than it was last week. This week we played better and now we’re in the playoffs.”
The Mission (6-3, 4-1) offense totaled 414 total yards, including 314 on the ground, but the turning point came when Lincoln seemed to grasp momentum.
Opening the third quarter, the Mustangs (3-6, 3-3) rode the legs of junior running back Demetrius Williams, who rushed for 41 of his team-high 116 yards on Lincoln’s 10-play, 65-yard scoring drive, capped by a five-yard touchdown run from Williams, to cut the Mission lead to 15-6.
But Mission junior running back Antoine Porter darted 89 yards on the ensuing kickoff to extend the Bears’ lead to 21-6 with 7:29 remaining in the third quarter.
“We did some really good things today and we’re still in the hunt,” said Lincoln head coach Phil Ferrigno. “But they’ve got so many athletes over there and that kickoff return really took the air out of us.”
Although Lincoln was able to close the margin to 21-12 with another Williams touchdown late in the third quarter, Mission closed the game in dominating fashion.
Senior running back Algeron Malbrough, who finished with 102 yards rushing on 10 carries, increased Mission’s lead to 27-12 on a 24-yard touchdown run with 9:43 left in the game. Then, after a Lincoln turnover, Mission running back Laron Davis put the game out of reach when he scored from 35-yards out.
“I told the kids [after] that we played a really good game and [to] keep this going into the playoffs,” Albano said. “Defensively, we did a really good job communicating and putting players in the right spot, which will be just as important when we play Lowell next week.”
With the loss, the Mustangs drop to fourth place and the final playoff spot in the AAA, but they hold the tiebreaker over fifth-place Balboa.
“One day these kids will win, I just don’t know when,” Ferrigno said. “We’re getting better and competing, but some of the mistakes we made were because they just out-skilled us.”
M: 5:36 — Davon Hargraves 1-yard run (kick good)
M: 10:25 — Laron Davis 8-yard run (Davis pass from Hargraves on conversion)
L: 7:46 — Demetrius Williams 5-yard run (conversion failed)
M: 7:29 – Antoine Porter 89-yard kickoff return (conversion failed)
L: 0:11 – Williams 6-yard run (conversion failed)
M: 9:43 — Algeron Malbrough 24-yard run (kick failed)
M: 7:38 — Davis 35-yard run (kick failed)
L: 7:22 — Williams 91-yard kickoff return (Davion Telfor pass from Joshua Burnoski on conversion)
M: 3:16 — Antonie Porter 11-yard pass from Hargraves (conversion failed)
M: 1:18 — Roy Sauceda 61-yard run (kick good)