In a word, sloppy.
In the season finale between Sierra and Weston Ranch at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium on Thursday, the two teams combined for seven turnovers, 27 penalties for 168 yards, 869 yards of offense and nearly 100 points in a contest that was not decided until the final 30 seconds.
Andre Baskin-Flemings intercepted a pass to kill any chance for last-second Sierra heroics in a 50-46 Valley Oak League win for Weston Ranch.
“It could have gone either way,” Sierra coach Chris Johnson said. “It just came down to who makes the most mistakes in a game like this and we made more mistakes than they did. Hats off to them. They capitalized on things.
“It is what it is. It has been an ugly season for both of us.”
This was the first league win for the Cougars (1-6 VOL, 2-8 overall), but the Weston Ranch record book now has to be amended with the performance of Amier Bowen. Coming into the game, Bowen needed 208 yards to eclipse his uncle Josh Bowen’s career record of 2,518 passing yards. Amier threw for 241 yards, completing 18 of 27 passes for three touchdowns and three interceptions. He also connected on a pair of conversion passes and rushed 20 times for 118 yards, two scores.
“I just work hard,” Amier Bowen said. “I try to follow in my uncle’s footsteps. We came out to win. All week in practice we were talking about this game and we really needed this one. We never gave up.”
Josh Bowen took three years to set his record, and Amier had nearly 3,000 yards passing and in excess of 1,000 yards rushing in his first year on the varsity as a junior.
“He is something special,” Davis said of Bowen. “What he does with his legs and the way he throws the ball is unbelievable.
“He didn’t get down on himself. He probably faced more adversity than anyone on the team throwing three picks with a couple of those in the red zone. But he kept on coming all night.”
Bowen’s favorite target was Fletcher Pitts, who had seven receptions for 105 yards and two touchdowns, including the game’s first touchdown on a 25-yard reception. Larry Fairbanks added 83 yards on three receptions with a 56-yard touchdown catch.
“The quarterback threw it to me, so I had to do what I had to do,” Pitts said. “Coach told us to keep fighting and we were working hard and we did not want to give that up. Plus, we had a couple of seniors on the team, and we did not want to mess that up for them.”
The Cougars had not won since early September in a 53-51 thriller over Bear Creek.
“It has obviously been a long time since we have been in the win column, and a long time since we have beaten Sierra,” Davis said. “I think the last time was in 2005 when I was in high school.
“We only start two seniors, so I think this is a good momentum builder for this group of juniors. They will work hard in the offseason and hopefully come back next year with a vengeance.”
The entire game was action packed, and the final five minutes was no different. With 4:53 remaining, Daemon Duran (27 carries, 234 yards) scored his fifth rushing touchdown of the night to put Sierra (1-6, 2-8) ahead, 46-42.
On the next play from scrimmage Joseph Rodriguez — who already had an interception — recovered a Weston Ranch fumble, only for Dezmin Ware to turn around on the next play and recover a Timberwolves fumble. This led to an 11-yard touchdown run by Ware, his second score of the night, with 1:39 left in the game for what proved to be the game-winner.
Carlos Tovar and Chase Sperbeck added interceptions for Sierra and Wilbert Williams recovered a fumble for the Cougars.