By Jim Shilander
With just over 8:30 left in the game, Dana Hills seemingly had all the momentum against visiting Villa Park. The Dolphins had just rallied from a 22-6 deficit with two long passes and a pair of two point conversions to tie the non-league game.
But the Spartans then took over. Quarterback Dylan Osborne scrambled on third-and-15 for a first down. Then big tight end Louis Vecchio caught Osborne’s pass and rumbled his way to a score. After the Dolphins turned the ball over on down at their own 26, Ian Pogue took the ball in from four yards out, followed by another score after another Dolphins drive was stopped, turning a tie game to a 43-22 game within seven minutes. The Dolphins did manage a final score, following a 79-yard kickoff return to the Spartan 21 and a Mac Vail pass to Drew Falk to make the final score 43-29.
The Spartans controlled the game early on, using a combination of different running backs, and the size of Vecchio to take a 15-0 lead in the second quarter. Vail and the Dolphin passing game then got going, using a 41-yard strike to Scott Schulte and a pass interference penalty to set up a pass to Falk from 12 yards, but the extra point was blocked.
The following drive by the Spartans seemed to slow at the Dolphin one-yard line, as the Dolphins’ defense held the Spartans with no gain. Osborne then found Vecchio in the back of the end zone for the score.
Neither team scored in the third quarter, which was highlighted by the Dolphins intercepting an Osborne pass at Dolphin the three-yard line.
Following a Spartan turnover on downs at the start of the fourth quarter, Vail hit Schulte from 58 yards to bring the Dolphins within a score. After holding the Spartans to a three and out, Dana Hills reached into the bag of tricks, as Ted Fitzgerald took a flea-flicker and threw to Vail, who was lined up at wide out, for a 53-yard score to tie the game.
The Dolphins finished with 234 yards through the air, but were limited to just 22 yards on the ground, largely due to sacks.
Dana now falls to 1-3 overall, and will face JSerra (3-0) at Saddleback College on Friday.