Friday night, they weren't so lucky.
The Pride fumbled the ball twice, threw a pair of interceptions and turned the ball over on downs three times in losing the CIF Class 5AA NorCal Football Championship, 31-21, to Immanuel High School of Reedley.
|Phillip White grabs the pass on a 59-yard TD play.|
The Eagles' quarterback Caleb Paulson completed 26 of 43 passes for 282 yards and two touchdowns to lead Immanuel to the Class 5 AA State Championship game on Saturday.
"We thought we’d have to score with them, so we threw the football,” Eagles coach Matt Armstrong told the Fresno Bee. "Their defensive front is the best we’ve seen all year. We had to get the ball out quick and let our playmakers make plays."
(Photos of the Bradshaw/Immanuel Game on the Sports Corner's Facebook Site)
The Pride actually scored on its opening possession of the game played at Reedley High School. Jared Knipe, one of Bradshaw's 1,000-yard rushers this season, squeezed into the end zone from a yard out to give the Pride an early lead.
Immanuel bounced right back with a score on the next possession. Kyle Dunigan scored from a yard out to tie the game at seven. The Eagles recovered a Bradshaw fumble on the next drive and Dunigan scored once again, this time from the 11 yardline to take a 14-7 lead.
The Pride opened the second quarter with its biggest play of the game, a Kyle Wilburn to Phillip White pass and run that covered 59 yards. The teams were tied at 14.
But, Paulson came back with some magic of his own hitting Ryan Case on a 30-yard scoring strike. Immanuel led 21-14 at halftime.
Three times in the third quarter the Pride gave up the ball on downs and Immanuel took advantage of that. Paulson connected with Adrian Jump on a 13-yard pass play to take an insurmountable 28-14 lead.
Bradshaw did pull to within a touchdown scoring early in the fourth quarter but Immanuel's defense stiffened the rest of the way. Case intercepted Wilburn with three minutes left in the game that resulted in Viktor Cooper's 26-yard field goal.
Cody King picked off another Wilburn pass in the final minute to seal the win.
Immanuel will now face Mater Dei Catholic of Chula Vista, a 21-14 winner over Notre Dame of Riverside in the SoCal Regional game, for the Class 5AA State Championship.
In Class 1AA action Friday Bellarmine of San Jose ended Folsom's 30-game win streak with a 42-35 win. Folsom had knocked off Elk Grove the previous week for the Sac-Joaquin Section's Division I championship.
Here are the other CIF State Football regional results: