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Petaluma rallies late for wild win over Terra Linda

After trailing for most of the game, the Petaluma Trojans scored twice in the late minutes to overhaul Terra Linda, 52-44, in an entertaining scoring fest on Saturday afternoon in Marin County.

The turnover-filled contest was nearly bobbled away by the visiting Trojans, who lost the ball five times to set up Terra Linda scoring drives. Petaluma trailed, 28-20, at halftime and twice fell behind by a couple of touchdowns before rallying behind its hard-working offensive line to eventually pull it out.

“We have to improve each week, but I don’t think we did today,” said Trojan coach Rick Krist. “The second half was much better for us because of the play of our offensive front. Our kids won the battle up front.”

“It’s all about momentum. We can enjoy this one for a while, but our team will have to play much better if we expect to compete with Casa Grande next week. We did a great job coming back.”

Terra Linda struck early on a 76-yard run by Kobe Johnson and a touchdown toss by lefty Matt Peters to take a 14-0 first-quarter lead over the stunned visitors before Petaluma was able to settle in and exchange scores for the rest of the game.

The contest settled into big plays by Terra Linda against the time-consuming short gainers by the visiting Trojans. Johnson had 153 yards rushing for Terra Linda and Peters tacked on 136 through the air.

Petaluma completely controlled the time of possession as quarterback Justin Wolbert and running back Jacob Rollstin punched out short gainers that produced first downs to move the chains.

Rollstin had huge numbers with five rushing touchdowns on 129 yards on the ground. Wolbert led Petaluma with 155 yards when Terra Linda failed to read the Trojan quarterback keepers.

Terra Linda maintained a one-touchdown advantage at 44-36, but the wheels came off when Peters went to the well too often in the last 12 minutes.

Twice the Terra Linda lefty threw into heavy coverage, and both times the ball was tipped by onrushing Trojans into critical interceptions that set up the biggest offensive plays of the day by Petaluma. Isaiah Blomgren picked off the first one.

Wolbert completely fooled Terra Linda on a keeper play to the left side of the line, and he galloped untouched for 48 yards for a touchdown to cut the lead to a single point. Junior Daniel DeCarli fell on a fumble in the end zone to tie the score at 44-44.

Peters was picked off again on another tipped football as Dominic Ayers got credit for a most important interception.

With good field position on the Terra Linda 46 and time running down, the visiting Trojans kept moving the chains with ground-gaining plays behind the crunching blocks of their forward wall. Rollstin got the majority of the carries, and he punched in the eventual game-winner from 5 yards out to give Petaluma its first lead with a bit over one minute remaining. A 2-point PAT run by Rollstin made it 52-44.

Peters tried to get his club back into the game, but the fired-up Trojans gave him little time. A big tackle by Xavier Crysdale pushed Terra Linda back even farther.

Time ran out for the home club as a hearty band of Trojan supporters howled their approval on the sunny side of the playing field.

It may not have been a thing of beauty because of eight fumbles in the game, but Petaluma improved to 3-0 with the win and headed into the Casa game on Saturday with the momentum that Krist wanted.