So close, yet so far away. Everything was going right for Charter Oak High School football heading into their semifinal matchup with first seed Colony High School. The Chargers were league champions, dominated their first two playoff opponents, and was coming off arguably their best offensive performance of the season from last week. They made it farther than any Charter Oak team in the past five years, and everyone was counting them out. They were playing with a chip on their shoulder and it seemed they were headed towards their sixth CIF Championship. They were five minutes away from reaching the final step; however fate had other plans for the Chargers tonight.
Things started off on a sour note. Colony scored on a huge 66-yard touchdown pass in their second play of the game, along with converting a two-point conversion. Charter Oak responded as usual with junior quarterback Kamden Brown hitting running back Zion Echols for a 55-yard touchdown. The Chargers were trailing the Titans, 7-8 early in the game. Charter Oak kept their foot on the pedal, and by the end of the first quarter, they were up 14-8.
Their lead wouldn’t last much longer. Colony capitalized on a Charter Oak fumble and would go on to score to retake the lead. The two Central Division powers reached a stalemate in the second quarter, as they kept trading turnovers but nobody was able to score. Eventually, junior kicker Jaren Surdo hit a field goal to give the Chargers the lead going into halftime, 17-15.
Charter Oak got the ball back to begin the first half, but they weren’t able to do anything with it. Brown threw another interception, which the Titans would take advantage of to take a 22-17 lead. The Chargers did score again, however they weren’t able to convert the two-point attempt, resulting in them holding onto a 23-22 lead heading into the fourth quarter. It would be an all-out slugfest to see who would head to the finals.
Charter Oak seemed to take the advantage, getting another Surdo field goal to take a 26-22 lead with seven minutes to play. Colony refused to back down as they scored another touchdown to give themselves a 29-22 lead with five minutes left in the game. The Chargers offense started to click at just the right time, as they were driving the ball and found themselves at the Colony 38-yard line. The worst thing imaginable happen: Brown would throw another interception, and this one was returned all the way for a Titan touchdown. All of a sudden Charter Oak was in a deep 35-26 hole. The Chargers got the ball back, but it would be of no use as it resulted in another Charger turnover, their eighth of the game. Colony would run the clock out, resulting Charter Oak losing in a heartbreaker by a score of 35-26.
Charter Oak’s football season has come to an end. However, their future is very bright considering the many juniors and sophomores returning. There is an undefeated freshman team whose players are looking to make an impact on the varsity team.
— Andres Soto