Christian Brothers placed third this fall in the Capital Valley Conference and overall had a 6-4 record. But the small Catholic high school was ready Saturday night to make its own imprint in the Sac-Joaquin Section's Division III playoffs.
And, for most of the game at Cosumnes Oaks High School the Falcons hung with the 8-2 Wolfpack. The only thing was that Christian Brothers had no answer for Wolfpack wide receiver Alex Van Dyke.
The 6-4 wideout grabbed 11 passes for 191 yards and one touchdown to lead his Cosumnes Oaks team to a 19-14 decision over the Falcons. But, it was two plays where Van Dyke showed his value to Coach Ryan Gomes and his Wolfpack teammates.
In the third quarter after a 7-7 first half, Van Dyke took a short pass from quarterback Alex Kropp and then picked up a couple blocks and out legged the rest of the Christian Brothers' secondary for a 68-yard touchdown play.
Then late in the game with his club at thier own 35 yard line and faced with a third-and-long situation, Kropp scrambled to his left to avoid a rush. With a linebacker in his face, Kropp lobbed a short five-yard high-arching pass to Van Dyke who had ran towards his teammate and get open. Van Dyke plucked the ball out of the air, turned around and sprinted 30 yards into Falcon territory and pretty much give Cosumnes Oaks the first down needed to run out the remaining few seconds of the game.
But, Coach Ryan Gomes said the opening round win was more of a collective team win.
Watch the post-game interview with Coach Gomes:
"We overcame the turnovers, we had two or three touchdowns called back," Gomes said. "Obviously, two or three kids made a concerted effort and stepped up."
Plus, the Wolfpack overcame 10 flags and 168 yards in penalties that, at times, stymied their attack.
"Give it to Christian Brothers, who really brought it," Gomes added. "Their four losses were all to tough quality opponents. They were in every game."
The Falcons actually scored first when Avante Yarber ran it across the goalline from two yards out to cap a six-play drive. Cosumnes Oaks' first TD came midway through the second quarter on Kaelin Willhite's six-yard run.
Van Dyke's TD reception came early in the third quarter. Later in the same period Ryan Lewis grabbed a six-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Ares to give the Wolfpack a 19-7 advantage.
Christian Brothers' quarterback Caden Noon scored with just :52 second left in the third period on a 16 yard scamper.
After that, the Falcons got the ball only two more times, went three-and-out on the first possession of the fourth quarter and then fumbled the ball at the Cosumnes Oaks' 20 yard line with 3:55 left on the clock.
This Friday, the Wolfpack's march through the playoffs will travel to American Canyon High School to take on the 10-1 Solano County League champions.
"They have a tailback that has run for about two thousand (yards), if not the best, at least one of the top two or three backs in the Section," Gomes said. "They have an Oregon commit wide receiver-D.B. so they have some weapons."
Wolfpack quarterback Alex Kropp was 13-of-19 for 211 yards and the touchdown toss to Van Dyke. He was also intercepted at the Christian Brothers' goalline in the first half. Willhite led all rushers with 150 yards on 25 carries and one TD. Michael Coleman gained 58 yards on 11 carries, mainly out of the wildcat formation.
Dwayne Darden played for the first time since early September. The Wolfpack running back had five carries for 35 yards in his return to the field.
Linebacker Etuati Levi lead Cosumnes Oaks with eight total tackles.