Coming in to Juanita’s last non-conference game of the season, the challenge for the Rebels was to slow Lindbergh’s high-flying spread passing attack. Juanita did just that, holding the Eagles to a season-low 21 points and winning 24-21 in overtime on Sept. 25 at Renton Stadium.
Before the game against Juanita, Lindbergh had scored at least 30 points in every game this season and quarterback Jake Allie had 13 touchdown passes through three games.
“We wanted to do two things to slow them down on offense,” said Juanita coach Shaun Tarantola after the game. “First, eliminate their run game. Second, tackle in space. We knew they were going to complete passes, they’re too good of a passing team. We just had to make tackles to limit yards.”
Both teams moved the ball decently in the first quarter, but neither could post any points. The teams combined for three turnovers on downs.
Juanita struck first with a 75-yard, 13-play drive that took five minutes of game time. Quarterback Nick Olearain kept the drive alive on a third and 21 play by avoiding a sack, then scrambling 19 yards. Five plays later, Olearain took the snap, rolled right and hit senior Nate Khien with a bullet pass for a five-yard touchdown. Jon Evatt made the extra point kick to give Juanita a 7-0 lead.
Lindbergh didn’t take long to respond. One a quick, two-minute scoring drive, Lindbergh running back David Valentine rushed three times for 47 yards, including the touchdown from one yard out. The Eagles missed the extra point kick and moved to within one point.
The Rebels then put together an 11-play drive that went down to Lindbergh’s two-yard line. The Eagles stuffed Juanita on three run attempts, then Olearain’s pass came up short of fourth and goal, giving Lindbergh the ball.
With one minute, 10 seconds left in the half, Lindbergh quarterback Jake Allie tossed a long ball to Frank Cange that looked like it was just short. Cange and the defensive back made contact as Cange bent back for the pass, the ball popped up, Cange grabbed it and sprinted to the end zone. The 74-yard touchdown pass and catch was the longest play of the game, and it gave Lindbergh a 13-7 lead after Dustin Stevens hit the kick for the Eagles.
Juanita came out in the second half and scored quickly on a 66-yard drive highlighted by a 21-yard run by Olearain and a 50-yard touchdown pass from Olearain to Khien, giving the Rebels a 14-13 lead.
On the next drive, Juanita’s Kyle Bowden intercepted an Allie pass for the second time in the game.
The teams exchanged punts, then Juanita drained over eight minutes off the clock with a 64-yard drive that included nine run plays and ended when Jack Bayley took the handoff and ran right, plunging into the end zone. After the extra point, Juanita had a 21-13 lead with just under nine minutes left in the game.
On the first play of the next drive, Valentine took the handoff, cut left, broke a tackle and scampered for 55 yards down to the Juanita seven-yard line.
At that point the Rebel defense stood up. Lindbergh couldn’t score and turned the ball over on downs at the Juanita seven yard line.
But after a holding penalty backed the Rebels up, close to their own end zone, Olearain scrambled right and threw the ball away. He was called for intentional grounding and since he committed the foul from his own end zone, Juanita was called for a safety. So Lindbergh got two points and would get the ball back, however the Rebels still led 21-15.
Lindbergh got the ball with under five minutes left and a chance to drive for the lead. Allie completed five passes in a row at one point in the 13-play drive. The Eagles made it to Juanita’s four-yard line with a second and goal with 39 seconds left. Two incomplete passes later, it was fourth and goal with 33 seconds left in the game. Allie lined up under center and fired a pass to Derek Herley for a four-yard touchdown with just 29 seconds left, tying the score at 21. In front of a raucous Lindbergh crowd, all that remained was the extra point attempt.
But the Rebels managed to block Lindbergh’s extra point attempt, keeping the score tied. Juanita got the ball back, couldn’t score and the game went to overtime.
Lindbergh got the first chance in the extra period, but couldn’t move the ball and went four and out. Juanita then got a chance, advanced the ball to Lindbergh’s three-yard line and Evatt kicked a 20-yard field goal to give the Rebels the win, 24-21.
“It was a great game,” Tarantola said. “It was a fun game to be a part of.”
Tarantola credited his defense with the win and said the group played did a great job slowing Lindbergh’s attack. The misdirection, fly offense that Rebels run also kept the Eagle defenders somewhat off balance through the game.
Allie and Olearain each passed for two touchdowns. Allie added two interceptions, Olearain fumbled once (in overtime) but Khien recovered the ball.
Valentine ran for 121 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, but the Rebels bottled him up fairly well on most plays. Valentine had runs of 38 and 55 yards, but otherwise none longer than eight yards.
Khien caught five passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed once for 28 yards.
“We had too many mental mistakes. We laid a mental egg out there,” said Lindbergh coach Dominic Yarrington. “But I can’t discount their effort, their effort was great.”
Yarrington said he was frustrated with the Eagles’ inability to convert extra point attempts in Stevens’ first game this season.
It was the third straight win for the Rebels after opening the season with a 23-14 Loss to Inglemoor. Juanita has averaged 35.7 points, while allowing an average of 17 in the three wins. The Rebels are 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the KingCo.
Next up for the Rebels is Liberty at home on Oct. 3.
Adam McFadden can be reached at email@example.com or 425-255-3484, ext. 5054.