By Steve Dulas
Article Launched: 10/06/2007 03:24:34 AM PDT
Northgate High School's football team showed Friday there are two ways to play defense. One is for the defense to come up with big plays at key moments. The other is simply to not let the other team get the ball.
The Broncos did both. Blaine Johnson ran for 128 yards and a touchdown and the visiting Broncos came up with two crucial second-half turnovers to preserve a 14-11 victory over Miramonte.
The Broncos (3-2, 3-1 Diablo Foothill Athletic League) set the tempo on their first possession, after John Lloyd's 27-yard field goal put Miramonte (2-3, 1-3) ahead 3-0 four minutes into the game.
Starting from its own 23-yard line with 7:54 left in the first quarter, Northgate chewed up time and yards with its single-wing offense.
With Johnson and Chris Pelayo running sweeps and misdirections on nearly every play, the Broncos put together a 77-yard, 17-play drive that ended on Pelayo's 4-yard run on the second play of the second quarter.
The Broncos converted three third downs and one fourth down along the way, that coming when Pelayo punched out a 2-yard gain to the Miramonte 42 on fourth-and-two.
Northgate rushed for 245 yards and held the ball for nearly 30 minutes in the game en route to its first victory over Miramonte since 1994.
"Ball control has really been a key for us," Northgate coach Darin Owens said.
With injured quarterback Trevor Boswell watching from the sideline, the brunt of the Matadors' offense was loaded on the shoulders of Kevin Paulsen, who responded with 107 yards on 17 carries. John Lloyd, filling in at quarterback, was held to 20 yards passing.
After recovering a Northgate fumble at midfield with 6:20 left in the third quarter, runs of 17 and 5 yards by Paulsen and runs of 19 and 1 yard by Grant Hyjer put the Matadors at Northgate's 8-yard line, but Chris Inman of the Broncos intercepted Lloyd's fourth-down pass.
The Broncos proceeded to drive 76 yards, with Johnson scoring on a 20-yard run and, after Scott Reddy's kick, a 14-3 lead.
Lloyd scored on a 1-yard plunge and Mike Trumbo ran for the 2-point conversion with 8:19 left in the game, and the Matadors got the ball back three minutes later when Jake Kaplan recovered a Northgate fumble.
But three plays later, John Luehs forced the ball loose when he sacked Lloyd. The Broncos recovered at the Miramonte 30 with 3:15 remaining and ran out the clock.
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