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Padecky: A painful conclusion to Casa's pursuit of football perfection

  • Casa Grande's Greg Poteracke shows emotion after a 41-28 loss to Miramonte in the NCS Division 2 championship on Saturday. (John Burgess / PD)

ROHNERT PARK — Some of them couldn't even look. The Miramonte players were gathering at mid-field Saturday night to hoist the trophy, to raise their arms and their voices. On the opposite side of the 50-yard line at the Rancho Cotate stadium, several Casa Grande players turned, lowered their heads and walked away.

They did it not out of disrespect. They did it because of the pain, the kind of pain that comes when a season comes to a screeching, searing halt. They couldn't watch because Miramonte took something the Gauchos wanted and they sure as heck weren't going to give it back.

“I'd rather not talk right now,” said Casa running back John Porchivina. “Thank you, no.”

Casa Grande Football vs. Miramonte

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When their door to the future gets slammed so late in the season — it wasn't over for Casa until a lost fumble with 1:58 left in the Gauchos' 14th game of the year — the players walked around looking lost, with glassy eyes, searching for answers that will not come. No, the score won't change. It will forever be 41-28 Miramonte.

“I'll remember this to the day I die,” said Casa coach Trent Herzog.

Herzog will not be alone. The coaches, the players, the school's support personnel, all of them will hash and rehash the big plays, the turnovers, the 12 penalties, the two 14-point swings. They will throw out the shoulda, coulda, woulda, which happens during every film review, and they'll come to same conclusion that defensive lineman Nick Pleinnikul did.

“It was an honorable defeat,” Pleinnikul said.

It was Casa answering the blows Miramonte delivered, the kind of blows that has crippled other teams, sent Miramonte to lopsided victories. There was nothing lopsided about this. The Gauchos responded and responded until there was no more time left to respond. There was just the sound of the buzzer and the emptiness that followed it.

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