Casa Grande offensive lineman relishes touchdown
Published: Friday, December 13, 2013 at 11:45 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, December 13, 2013 at 11:45 a.m.
If the Casa Grande football team had managed a late comeback against Miramonte in the North Coast Section Division 2 championship game, we'd all be talking about Brendan Jackson this week.
The Gauchos did not play efficiently early in the game, and were down 14-7 at halftime. But they grabbed momentum by taking the second-half kickoff and marching down the field on a series of straight-ahead runs. On the verge of evening the score, though, halfback John Porchivina fumbled just as he dove across the goal line. Officials ruled it a live ball. Fortunately for the home team, the fumble was recovered by Jackson, Casa's 6-foot-2, 285-pound left guard.
“I was running my guy,” Jackson explained. “He fell onto the ground. Suddenly I saw the ball, and I said, 'That's my chance. That's my six points.'”
Touchdown Gauchos. They added another score at the end of the third quarter, but ultimately could not contain the Matadors in the fourth quarter. Jackson's touchdown became a footnote (and a victory for big guys everywhere) rather than a game-changer, though the junior won't soon forget it.
Asked the last time he scored a touchdown, Jackson replied: “Never. Besides Madden.”
Prep basketball fans can get their fill of action at two tournaments this week.
The Redwood Empire Invitational Basketball Tournament, in its 65th year, has eight-team boys and girls competitions opening today and continuing through Saturday.
Hosted by Healdsburg High School, the REIBT has Willits, Maria Carrillo, Lower Lake, Ferndale, Rincon Valley Christian, Ukiah, John Swett and Healdsburg on the boys' side.
The girls' half of the tournament has McKinleyville, Willits, Novato, Middletown, Rancho Cotate, Clear Lake, Fort Bragg and Healdsburg.
Cardinal Newman hosts the 49th edition of the Rose City Tournament for boys. Games begin Thursday and continue through Saturday.
Teams entered are San Marin, Justin-Siena, Rancho Cotate, El Molino, Redwood, Santa Rosa, St. Mary's of Berkeley and Cardinal Newman.
Salute to Casa, Analy
The top large-school Empire football teams completed seasons among the Bay Area's best programs.
One-loss Casa Grande was ranked 19th in the Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area Top 25. The best Gauchos football team ever finished one game short of the state prep playoffs.
Two spots behind Casa Grande was Analy, which reached the semifinals of the very toughNCS Division 3 playoffs.
Ranked among the best of the rest are North Bay League rivals Cardinal Newman, Montgomery, Rancho Cotate and Windsor.
Alvarado, Benson unsure
The top two small-school running backs in the Empire — Calistoga's Dylan Alvarado and Middletown's Austin Benson — have no idea what their future holds. Neither has chosen a college or, for that matter, necessarily decided whether to play football.
“Oh, I'm playing in college,” Benson said. “I don't care if I go to a junior college first and then work my way up. I want to play at the next level. I just have no idea where I'll be going to school.”
Things are a little different for Alvarado.
“I'm undecided. I have no idea about college,” he said. “I've played football for nine years, since I was a little kid. It's fun and I love it. People just have no idea how much time and effort players put into the game all year.”
Benson won't necessarily be a running back in college.
“Austin's the type of talent to be a cornerback at the next level. He's that good an athlete,” said Middletown coach Bill Foltmer.
Press Democrat staffers Phil Barber, Ted Sillanpaa and Michael Coit contributed to this report.
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