Football: Washington edges Galileo in controversial finish

Washington senior quarterback Simon Ma trots into the end zone for the game-winning score against Galileo on Friday at Washington High School. (Photo by Devin Chen)

By Jeremy Balan

It takes a whole lot to agitate Mark Huynh, but the normally-collected Galileo Academy head coach had a reason to be bothered after the Lions’ 18-14 road loss to Washington on Friday.

Down by four points with just under 3 minutes remaining, Galileo (1-5-1, 0-3) appeared to take the lead on a winding, 81-yard screen pass from junior quarterback Kyle Nelson to running back Ronzel Fox.

But a flag came down late near midfield and the referees negated the touchdown for a block-in-the-back penalty on Galileo.

The block in question was a big one, without a doubt. A Galileo receiver downfield cleaned out a Washington defender right in front of the Eagles’ sideline as Fox scampered by, but it was definitively from the side, not in the back.

“The team feels that we get a lot of these calls against us. When it goes the other way – especially when we watch film – it’s not called,” said Huynh, who stated the Lions have had around 15 touchdowns negated by penalties this season. “We just don’t catch those breaks. We just don’t.”

Galileo junior running back Ronzel Fox slips through a hole in the Washington defense on Friday at Washington High School. (Photo by Devin Chen)

Washington head coach Taylan Plasch even admitted the play probably should have been a touchdown.

“To be honest, I thought it was a touchdown,” Plasch said. “It was a late call, and maybe it was a more of a shove than a block, but thank God. We needed something to help us out.”

As deflating as the penalty was, the Lions had several more opportunities to win.

The best chance was just two plays later, when Nelson arced a picture-perfect throw to wide receiver Todd Holland, who was streaking down the left sideline. Holland had the Washington defensive back beaten and appeared clear to score the go-ahead touchdown, but dropped the ball just 5 yards short of the end zone.

The Lions turned the ball over on downs on that drive, giving the Eagles (2-5, 2-2) possession on their own 42-yard line with 58 seconds remaining. Washington kneeled on three consecutive plays and after two Galileo timeouts and two delay-of-game penalties, faced a fourth-and-25 situation with 12 seconds remaining.

Missing starting long snapper Sung Park to an injury earlier in the game and without their backup due to academic ineligibility, the Eagles elected not to punt from their own 27-yard line and instead ran a running play well short of the first-down marker to give the Lions another golden opportunity.

“It was too close to the end zone and we’ve had snaps go over our head in the past,” Plasch said. “That was the last thing we wanted to happen. Thank God that decision didn’t kick us in the butt.”

Galileo got the ball back on the Washington 27-yard line with 7 seconds left and dialed up a jump ball on the next play.

Nelson lobbed a ball into the end zone near the Washington sideline, where 6-foot-1 tight end Issac Armstrong awaited. Washington junior cornerback Ricky Lee Johnson, likely a full 8 inches shorter than Armstrong, leapt up and broke up the play, but when the ball hit the turf, 1 second remained on the clock.

Huynh called the play that had been most effective all game for the Lions’ last-gasp effort.

Along with the negated score, Fox notched the first touchdown of the game on a 53-yard screen pass, in which he broke at least five tackles, and finished with 128 yards on six receptions. The junior struggled rushing (he still ran for a team-high 44 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, and had 14 tackles at linebacker), but was unstoppable in the open field on screen passes.

So the ball went to Fox again on a screen and again he found daylight. He broke one tackle and appeared to have room down the left sideline, but Washington senior defensive lineman Wilson Jiang made an open-field tackle 20 yards short of the end zone to end the game.

Washington senior quarterback Simon Ma sends a throw into the Galileo secondary on Friday at Washington High School. (Photo by Devin Chen)

“We told the seniors that this would be their last game on this field and they picked it up,” Plasch said. “Wilson stepped up when we needed it the most.”

Galileo outgained Washington 242-181 in offensive yardage and the Eagles were largely ineffective on offense, except for two drives orchestrated by senior quarterback Simon Ma.

The first was a 55-yard scoring drive just before the end of the first half, in which Ma accounted for all of the yardage through the air on 5-of-6 passing, capped by a 15-yard strike to Johnson with 12 seconds left to give the Eagles a 10-7 halftime lead.

The second was a 13-play, 78-yard drive in the fourth quarter that ate up nearly 7 minutes of game time and set up the final controversial moments. Ma went 2-of-2 through the air for 47 yards on the game-winning drive and scored on a play-action bootleg scramble on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line.

Ma also had to battle through the shouts from the stands, pleading with Plasch to replace him with sophomore backup Ramon Cutright-Son.

“He could hear what was going on in the crowd,” Plasch said. “I know Simon’s head gets a little shaken up and his stomach was turning, because he puts so much pressure on himself. If not for those [touchdown drives], we’re right back where we were last week.”

Scoring Summary

First Quarter
G: 5:20 – Ronzel Fox 53-yard pass from Kyle Nelson (Yanek Hakobyan kick)
W: 1:31 – Mondo Bayasqalon 35-yard field goal

Second Quarter
W: 0:12 – Ricky Lee Johnson 15-yard pass from Simon Ma (Bayasqalon kick)

Third Quarter
G: 6:16 – Fox 4-yard run (Hakobyan kick)

Fourth Quarter
W: 3:41 – Ma 1-yard run (Thomas Flores pass from Ma on conversion)

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36 Comments

  1. tito says:

    this game was so rigged,i believe gal should have won and the refs were always hating Gal, ii know gal is a better team but these refs are just plain terrible

    • Jorge V says:

      @ tito Its a HIGH SCHOOL football game in the AAA, these games are not rigged neither of these teams is competing for a state title so whatvis anybody gonna rig this game for? dont try and take the victory away from these kids.

  2. Iforgotmyname says:

    Wait so what was going on with Ma??????

    • JJ says:

      I think Ma was bothered at the chants to bench him and to replace him with the sophomore QB. I’ve seen Ma play before in 1 game; I think he’s a good player, but seems to be fumble-prone at times. Wash’s line isn’t that big, so the QB doesn’t have much time to make a decision, but from what I’ve seen, Ma was accurate on his passes when he had time and a pretty fast runner for a QB.

      • Iforgotmyname says:

        -_______- Are you kidding? This isn’t an insult to anyone but as a Very very recent wash grad alum, I am confused because:
        1. This is San Francisco public high school football. No one cares to the point where they will be vocal about taking a player out of the game. This isn’t Texas, Florida or any of those competitive leagues. Everyone at wash makes the team.
        2 out of the VERY few people that show up to the game (at least from my four years at wash) they only show up to talk with their friends and pretend to watch the game. I’m just like what? People were actually yelling at Simon or something?

  3. GHouse says:

    Something needs to be done about these refs…

  4. Ari Gold says:

    I don’t get it. Seriously I don’t. You have a kicker that already made PAT and a 35yd FG (THIRTY-FIVE!!!!!! FOR A AAA KICKER!!!!!) and when Wash scores the go ahead TD to make it 16-14, you go for two??? This strategy is definitely a headscratcher.

    • GHouse says:

      Galileo’s kicker was making 40yarders with room to spare during the warm ups. Just saying…

    • GCJ 01 says:

      You always talk about kicking as if it’s your fetish or something. Get over it. Stick to complaining about your SHC teams underachieving! Better yet, why don’t you tell them to actually score in a game….that might be more productive rather than talking about FG’s and PAT’s all of the time!

      • Ari Gold says:

        You’re complete moron. Special teams plays a huge part of who wins the game and when offenses and defenses are equal, whoever has the best special teams usually wins out. For you to downplay it and mock me shows your pea-sized brain’s capacity to understand the game of football.

        • GCJ 01 says:

          I’m a moron? You obviously can’t read. I didn’t say anything about special teams nor was I down playing them. My point was you’re way too facinated with kicks. If you couldn’t understand that, you’re the true moron. I guess all that money your parents paid to put you through SHC was a waste!

          By the way, just like JB, I work at 2am….so next time you’re going to open your mouth, make sure you know what you’re talking about. It’s bad enough we have to read your misguided comments on a daily basis, but at least once, get your facts straight before opening your mouth.

          I know it’s hard for you to do, but try it my friend. Have a Blessed night Mr. Ari fools gold!

      • Ari Gold says:

        You also need to stop stalking Balan at 230, 300 in the morning. It’s boarderline scary.

  5. AAAfan says:

    the refs took this game away from galileo. also that pass by nelson was beautiful too bad his receiver couldnt pull it in.

  6. AlumJets says:

    Y’all can’t really blame the refs for the loss as they only messed up one play. A football game is made up of numerous plays not just one. Everyone makes mistakes and the ref made one that just happened to be crucial. Gal should not blame the ref as their reciever dropped an OPEN pass. Was that the refs fault? NO.
    Anyways congrats to that wash defender who made the open field tackle on Ronzel Fox, who normally needs to be tackled by 5 players to be brought down.

    • Waka Flocka Flame says:

      There were also 4 other touchdowns by galileo that got called back so i guess its not just 1 play but FOUR

      • jbalan says:

        Pretty sure it was two. And on one, Galileo scored on that same drive. A third could be argued, but the play was called correctly, albeit after a considerable delay.

  7. AlumJets says:

    What would these “biased” refs win for “giving” Wash a win?

    • jbalan says:

      I don’t think they were biased. The call in question just negated what would have been a go-ahead touchdown. Washington still would have had over three minutes to make a game-winning drive.

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