By Matthew Snyder
After two offensive series against Jefferson High School of Daly City on Saturday, Balboa lost starting quarterback Osvaldo Orozco to an injury.
Into the role stepped junior Prince Taouma, normally a wide receiver, who had never played the position before.
But you never would have known given Taouma’s impressive performance, which nearly led the Bucaneers to a thrilling comeback in a 16-15 home loss to the Indians.
Balboa (0-3) had a shot to take the lead in the game’s final seconds, but Taouma’s final Hail Mary pass fell incomplete and the Bucs ended their non-league schedule winless.
Balboa burst out of the gate, with junior running back Will Barnett breaking off a 70-yard run on the second play from scrimmage. Barnett was starting in place of standout Balboa running back Antoine Crecy, who was out with a knee injury.
Orozco capped a five-play, 85-yard drive by scrambling in from a yard out to give the Bucs a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
He suffered a withering hit on the play, however, which resulted in an injured clavicle in his right shoulder that knocked him out of the game.
The Indians (1-2) responded on the ensuing drive with a big run of their own. On third down, Chris Martin-Dismuke scored on a 86-yard run on a misdirection play, knotting up the game at 7-7. Martin-Dismuke finished with a game-high 135 yards on 13 carries.
The Jefferson rushing attack, with its trio of Martin-Dismuke, tailback Delfonse Lewis (10 carries, 95 yards) and fullback William David (21 carries, 66 yards), proved to be more than a nuisance for the Bucs.
“At the end of the day, when we’re in a position to make plays behind the line of scrimmage, we need to make them,” Balboa head coach Alvaro Carvajal said of the Bucs’ defensive effort. “We didn’t make enough of those plays today. Jefferson had great athletes and they made us pay for it.”
Jefferson outgained Balboa 354-228 in total offense, with 287 coming on the ground. Barnett led the Bucs with 69 yards rushing on 11 carries, and was joined by James Woods (five carries, 30 yards) and Jeremiah Iuli (six carries, 49 yards).
The Indians controlled possession for almost all of the second quarter (Balboa had just one offensive series) before David kicked a 21-yard field goal seconds before halftime to make give Jefferson a 10-7 lead at the break.
Lewis scored on a 25-yard run early in the fourth quarter to give Jefferson a 16-7 advantage, but Taouma showed no nerves under center, leading Balboa on an impressive 63-yard scoring drive, capped by a lofted 20-yard touchdown pass to Lamar Anderson.
Though Taouma was struggling with a balky right hamstring, he showed no ill effects when he went for the ensuing two-point conversion. Rolling right, Taouma made a dash toward the pylon, hurdling a defender on his way into the end zone.
B: 8:38 – Osvaldo Orozco 1-yard run (Kendrick Martin kick)
J: 7:10 – Chris Martin-Dismuke 86-yard run (Adan Marquez kick)
J: 0:00 – William David 21-yard field goal
J: 10:35 – Delfonse Lewis 25-yard run (kick failed)
B: 7:29 – Prince Taouma 20-yard pass to Lamar Anderson (Taouma run on conversion)