St. Vincent High School quarterback Mitch Sheppard waited until the last minute to extend his string of consecutive games with a touchdown pass, but when the TD throw came it was huge.
Sheppard hit Patrict Garcia with a 6-yard pass with just 1:05 left in the game and then booted the PAT kick to give St. Vincent's Mustangs a 13-12 win over California School for the Deaf in the semifinals of the North Coast Section Division V playoffs Saturday afternoon in Fremont.
The win puts St. Vincent into the section championship game against Ferndale next Saturday at 1 p.m. at Humboldt State University. Ferndale defeated St. Bernard Catholic, 20-13, in its semifinal game.
Although it took St. Vincent until the final minute to pull out its win against CSD, the Mustangs would have avoided the drama had they not had two touchdowns nullified by holding penalties.
Until Sheppard extended his consecutive TD streak to 23, all the scoring had come in the first half.
St. Vincent scored on a 1-yard run by Derek Murphy after a pass from Sheppard to George Sammon of 28-yards had put the touchdown within reach.
That TD, followed by a botched extra point, tied the game at 6-6, but CSD struck with lightning swiftness on a 42-yard run by Brian Freeman just before half for a 12-6 lead.
Sheppard prevented CSD from scoring what might have been a game-clinching touchdown with an interception and Jack Richardson halted the last CSD drive with another pick.
St. Vincent is now 10-2 for the season.
For complete game story, see Thursday's Petaluma Argus-Courier.