On to the semis

Sterling tops Boylan 22-20 on walk-off field goal

Sterling's Negil Bruce (5) pushes past a block by Boylan's Luke Bergstrom during Saturday's playoff game in Sterling.
Sterling's Negil Bruce (5) pushes past a block by Boylan's Luke Bergstrom during Saturday's playoff game in Sterling.

STERLING – For the second time this year, the Sterling Golden Warriors scored as time expired to pull out a win.

A last-second touchdown sank Rochelle in Week 7, but in Saturday’s Class 5A quarterfinal at Roscoe Eades Stadium, it was Eric Davila’s 22-yard field goal that secured a 10-7 win over Boylan as the clock hit all zeroes.

“I was just thinking I was at practice, same thing every day,” Davila said. “We practice it, executing the play.”

Cooper Willman took care of the snap, Dylan Bryant took care of the hold, and Davila’s right foot did the rest for his first walk-off field goal, sparking a mad dash back towards midfield where he was mobbed by teammates.

Sterling took over at its own 24 with 3:50 left in a tie game and marched 71 yards in 14 plays. Willman got the ball into Boylan territory on a read option with 2:19 to play. A few plays later, he scrambled to the 38 to convert a third down with under a minute left. Another scramble from Willman with 17 seconds left got the ball to the Titans’ 9 and into range for Davila.

“The drive before that when we scored the touchdown we were driving pretty hard,” Willman said. “We ran about the same plays. It was the same result.”

The drive for the game-winning field goal and Sterling’s previous drive, an 11-play 72-yard drive capped off by a Negil Bruce touchdown run with 5:40 to play, marked a turning point for the Sterling offense, which struggled to move the ball for most of the game.

“At halftime we were going over the little things we weren’t doing, like picking up a block here, blocking a different way, finding the cut lane,” Willman said. “It was just one of those things where coach [Shad] Bailey said that if we do this right, instead of a five-yard gain, it’s going to be 10. That showed and we started getting more and more yards every rush.”

The Warriors went three-and-out four times, including three drives in a row in the second half. Sterling also lost a fumble, had a pass intercepted, and turned the ball over on downs.

But as the game wore on, Sterling’s rushing attack started to gain more and more ground.

Sterling’s first drive of the second half got just over midfield before Willman was stopped in the backfield on a keeper. Xavier Bryant stripped the ball from him on the play and Tim Fey scooped it up and raced in for the score, Boylan’s only touchdown of the day.

Boylan only had one more big play the rest of the afternoon, a kick return to get into Warriors’ territory, and couldn’t capitalize on that.

Sterling moves on to the semi-finals and will host Lombard Montini on Saturday at 2 p.m.

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