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Campolindo slips past Rancho Cotate in a heart-stopper, advances to NCS Division II final

MORAGA – Charlie Murrin made the defensive play of the game late in the third quarter — and then somehow one-upped himself and saved Campolindo’s season in the fourth.

In a game with zero punts, no turnovers and 12 touchdowns, Murrin’s forced fumble to regain possession on a Campolindo interception, and his bat-down of a two-point try, were the difference in a mind-numbing 42-41 Campolindo win over Rancho Cotate. Campolindo will play San Ramon Valley for the NCS Division II championship next week.

“It’s truly insane, being on the field when they scored that touchdown and then when they had that two-point conversion try,” Murrin said. “My nerves are going like they’ve never been going before.”

Aside from those two Murrin contributions, the defenses had no luck getting the other team off the field. Fortunately for Campolindo, its offense played a perfect game. Quarterback Dashiell Weaver accounted for all six of his team’s touchdowns, rushing for four scores and throwing for two more.

His last touchdown came with 1:44 to go in the game, and it was perhaps his best. Weaver lofted a 34-yard rainbow to junior wide receiver Tim Daugherty down the right sideline to give Campolindo a 42-35 lead.

“That catch was hard, because he threw it out and up over my shoulder,” Daugherty said.  “But i was able to make an adjustment and it was a good catch.”

That 1:44 still proved to be too much time for a Rancho Cotate offense that had kept pace with Campo in the race for a berth in the NCS title game. Quarterback Jacob Pruitt, who had started every game since senior starter Liam Keaney went out for the season with an injury, ran for 106 yards and two touchdowns and threw for two more scores on Friday night.

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Pruitt keyed an offense that sprinted for 207 yards on the ground, with junior Tupotu Hale churning out 65 yards and a touchdown as a the lead running back in Rancho’s read-option offense. This ever-present threat of a gashing run opened up the passing game for Pruitt, who targeted Ananias Walker, Dylan Gagnon and Sailasa Vadrawale on intermediate and long passes late in the game.

On the final drive, he repeatedly looked for Gagnon and playmaker Cal-bound playmaker Vadrawale, who caught nine passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns.

Rancho Cotate quarterback runs the ball on Friday, Nov. 18 in Moraga. Campolindo defeated Rancho Cotate to advance to the NCS championship. (Joseph Dycus/Bay Area News Grouop) 

Vadrawale seemed headed for his third touchdown when a Campo defender jarred the ball free at the one-yard line. But Rancho receiver Walker alertly jumped on the loose ball and brought Rancho to within one point with 30 seconds left.

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