Erron Duncan finished out strong for Weston Ranch.
In the second half against visiting East Union, the Cougar running back racked up 118 of his game-high 202 yards.
His 7-yard touchdown run with 31 seconds left in the game proved to be the difference.
“Erron is just a well-conditioned athlete,” said Weston Ranch coach Seth Davis following his team’s 26-20 Valley Oak League victory.
More importantly, the Cougars (1-2 in league, 4-2 overall) kept alive any post season hopes.
The Lancers (0-3 VOL, 3-3 overall) are in a tough position.
“We’ll continue to work hard,” EU coach Willie Herrera said.
In a seesaw battle, the Lancers had the edge in the second quarter as junior quarterback Jack Weaver twice connected with wide receiver Baily Simons.
The first came after Weston Ranch quarterback Malik Vega-Tatum turned a bad snap into a 55-yard touchdown run just prior to the start of the second quarter.
Eduardo Acosta’s extra point kick made it 7-0.
But then Weaver took over. His 16-yard gain to midfield included 15 more yards tacked on due to a penalty.
The Cougars were flagged down 17 times for over 170 yards.
East Union had 11 penalties for 85 yards.
“We need to learn how to overcome certain things during the game. We have to do a better job fighting through adversity, penalties and turnovers,” Herrera said.
All appeared good in the second after Weaver hit Simons on scoring passes of 13 and 20 yards.
Eas Union led at that point, 13-7.
Duncan, who was on defense during that time, placed the blame on himself.
“I wanted to make up for (those mistakes) in the second half,” he said.
Duncan helped set up Brandon Granado’s halftime typing touchdown with a 40-yard run coupled with a 15-yard personal foul call.
In the third quarter, Duncan, on Weston Ranch’s second possession, reeled off runs of 14, 13 and 35. That was enough to set up Bryant Bowen, who scored on a 6-yard run.
The Lancers answered back with Weaver hitting Marcus Panelo on a long sideline pass. Moments later, Weaver scored on the short-yardage plunge, tying the game at 20-20 with his PAT kick.
With five minutes left in regulation, Weston Ranch milked the clock with Duncan doing most of the running and Vega-Tatum hitting Benn Cinque on a 15-yard pass play.
Moments after his 24-yard gain to put the Cougars deep in Lancers territory, Duncan scored with what proved to be the gamewinner with 31 seconds remaining.
“Our offensive line also did a great job in the second half,” Davis said. “They created enough of a push to give Erron that running room.”