STOCKTON — The Weston Ranch Cougars escaped Friday with a 20-19 Valley Oak League victory over East Union.
Weston Ranch (2-4, 3-6) was able to deflect the extra-point kick try with 26 seconds left.
“That was scary but exciting,” said Cougars coach Seth Davis. “We made our share of mistakes yet we prevailed.”
Included was a fumble with 1:25 left in the game. Weston Ranch had a seven-point cushion thanks to Erron Duncan’s 75-yard, catch-and-run touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.
“We made some half-time adjustments and decided to run the ball (in the second half),” said Lancers coach Willie Herrera.
In fact, East Union (0-6, 1-8) had Weston Ranch reeling through most of the second half, running effectively behind Victor Lopez and Jose Maltez.
Down 7-0 at the half, the Lancers ran the ball seven straight times, getting inside the Cougars’ 20 before disaster struck.
Weston Ranch defensive back Kashon Andrews jumped the passing lane, picking off the pass and darting 90 yards for the touchdown.
East Union kept the attack on the ground, as Lopez (24 carries, 154 yards) scored on a 7-yard run.
A few minutes later, the Lancers put together another strong drive. This time, Maltez (10 carries, 139 yards) broke loose on a 42-yard scoring run.
The Cougars still maintained their lead on the missed PAT kick, 14-13.
Weston Ranch, following Duncan’s electrifying TD — his first one at 3:33 mark of the second quarter was hauled in by the tips of his fingers — got the ball back inside the final two minutes and was looking to run out the clock.
But EU got the much-needed turnover at midfield, and moments later, quarterback Isaiah Gordon connected with Eddie Daube on a 28-yard scoring strike in the closing seconds.
“We needed a stop on special teams,” said Davis, who finally let out a sigh of relief as the potential game-tying PAT kick missed its mark.