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Lights go out on Casa football season

The lights went out on the Casa Grande High School football season Saturday night.

Playing on a sloppy field on a blustery night, Casa's Gauchos were eliminated by Concord's physical Minutemen, 14-6, in the second round of the North Coast Section Division 2 playoffs.

The game was marred by a 30-minute second-quarter blackout, the result of a tripped breaker that shut down the lights on the Casa field right after Concord had scored to tie the game at 6-6.

Casa Grande vs. Concord

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Defenses, aided and abetted by a mushy turf, intermittent rain and a slippery football, dominated for both teams.

Casa Grande swarmed all over much heralded Concord running back Olito Thompson, who holds the Northern California record with 3,488 yards in a single season. Surrounded every time he touched the football by Jimmy Johnson, Elijah Qualls and their Gaucho teammates, Thompson gained just 42 yards despite a workhorse 19 carries.

Casa Grande found moving the ball equally difficult against the swarming Concord defense. Running backs Qualls and John Porchivina found little passage room through the strong Minuteman front and quarterback JaJuan Lawson, slowed by a high-angle sprain, was hampered both by the wet football and a relentless Concord pass rush.

The ultimate difference was 40-yard pass interception return that Concord's Uaisele Manoa took to the house in the third quarter. That return was the only touchdown of the second half after the teams had played to a 6-6 first-half standoff.

Casa Grande did show some offensive life early, Driving 60 yards late in the opening quarter behind the power running of Qualls and a key fourth-down pass conversion from Lawson to Jake Ielmorini.

The touchdown came on a quick 15-yard burst by Porchivina.

Matt Abramo had a rare miss on the PAT kick, but Casa led, 6-0.


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