Cardinals upset Hawks on last-second field goal
Emiliano Corona kicks 28-yard field goal in Lindsay’s 37-34 win over liberty
By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
MADERA-RANCHOS – The first major upset of this year’s football section championship playoffs happened last Friday night when the No. 13-seeded Lindsay Cardinals eliminated the fourth-seeded Liberty Hawks 37-34 on a last second field goal in the Division V bracket.
“We played well in all three areas of the game and it’s great to see the entire team come together at the right time,” Lindsay head coach Matt Mendonca said. “They have worked hard and they deserve this.”
Late in the fourth quarter the Cardinals (6-4, 3-3) trailed 34-26 when their offense took over. Using a mixture of pass and run plays they were able to drive all the way down the field, eventually punching in a touchdown. A successful two-point conversion later and the score was knotted up at 34-34.
On the Hawks’ (9-2, 4-0) ensuing drive the Cardinals’ defense forced a punt with 1:18 left in the game. Aundrey Tapia played a big part in the stop just as he had all game and finished with 17 total tackles.
Once again, the Cardinals drove down the field until there was eight seconds left on the clock. They were on the 11 yard line which set them up with a 28-yard field goal attempt for the win. Mendonca choose to take the shot now with Emiliano Corona. He did not let the nerves get to him as he sent the ball straight through the up rights. The Cardinal kicker was 2-3 on the year.
“We put an extra weight on his shoulders in this game and he came through for us,” Mendonca said.
Corona is no stranger to kicking under pressure. He was a key player as a freshman on last the Cardinals’ runner-up section championship team last season. This however, has been his first season kicking for the football team, and Mendonca believes he has a bright future in both sports.
Mendonca knew his team had to score early to put some pressure on the Hawks, and they did on their opening drive. But the lead did not last long as the Hawks answered right back on their first drive. The seesaw battle lasted all game long. It was the balance of the Cardinals’ offense which not only provided the win, but kept them in the game.
Ethan Natera went 24-33 for 255 yards and two touchdowns. He was able to sling the ball around the field, completing passes to six different receivers. He also got involved on the ground with two rushing scores.
Mario Diaz hauled in both of Natera’s touchdowns as he caught nine total passes for 94 yards.
Lindsay will need all three aspects of their game in top shape once again this Friday when they take on the No. 5-seeded Woodlake Tigers at 7 p.m. Woodlake is coming off a 46-7 win over the No. 12-seeded Corcoran Panthers.
The Cardinals had no answer for the Tigers’ running attack when the two teams meet earlier during East Sequoia League play in a 49-7 loss.