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Padecky: Casa Grande digs deep to dominate second half against Montgomery

  • Gauchos running back John Porchivina outruns the Vikings defense for a 72-yard touchdown run Saturday in Petaluma. (ALVIN JORNADA / THE PRESS DEMOCRAT)

PETALUMA — It was halftime at the Casa Grande-Montgomery NCS playoff game Saturday night. The score was 14-13, Casa. And no one had a clue if Casa was going to come awake or stay sleeping.

The Gauchos were playing just good enough to win but, as the accompanying corollary, that meant they also were so very close to playing just bad enough to lose.

That undefeated season, that dream of being a NCS champion, it was all there hanging in the balance. Montgomery was playing smart; Casa meanwhile had six penalties. Montgomery was pushing its skill hard. Casa was pushing ordinary, something quite unlike a team that was 12-0 and the top-rated team in Division 2.

Casa Grande vs. Montgomery Football

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“At halftime I told them I was disappointed,” said Casa head coach Trent Herzog. “We weren't playing Casa football. We had something like six penalties. We could have had five more. We could have had 80 yards worth of penalties. We needed to play smart. We needed to eliminate physical mistakes.”

Casa was the bigger team but the Gauchos didn't play like it in the first half. “Get physical!” Herzog said to his team. Herzog knew what all coaches know: A good big man over time will wear down and dominate a smaller good man. It's elemental football strategy. Sometimes football doesn't have to be sophisticated.

So what happened?

Casa took the opening second-half kickoff and ran five times — 7, 18, 12, 13, 33 yards — the last run a touchdown to open it up to 21-13. Monty went three and out. Casa came back on the next series and ran 11 out of 12 plays to score again, chewing up almost six minutes in those 68 yards.

“We tired them out,” Herzog said. “We wore them down.”

In other words, at halftime, the Gauchos put on their big-boy pants.

“That's just about it,” said Casa running back Cody Hughson.

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