Nathan Mollat/Daily Journal
Aragon's Nick Tolfa makes a catch during the Dons' 34-26 win over El Camino.
The El Camino football team rushed for 247 yards — including 158 yards from Brandon Gip — and amassed nearly 400 yards of offense Friday night against host Aragon.
And yet it still wasn’t enough to down the Dons. Aragon scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 34-26 win over Colts.
“When I saw El Camino last weekend (against Washington-SF), I was impressed with their size,” said Aragon coach Steve Sell. “They can run the football.
“I told our defense, this is what [the Colts] are going to do. This where they are going to attack us. And they did.”
That would be right at the Dons’ defensive front. Gip and teammate Danny Ruiz, who finished with 78 yards on 13 carries, took turns gouging the Aragon defense as the Colts took a 26-19 lead with 10:49 to play.
Aragon’s offense wasn’t finding much resistance against the El Camino defense, either. With their backs against the wall, the Dons finally put the Colts away with three fourth-quarter touchdowns. Keith Samujh scored his second touchdown of the night on a 6-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 19 after the extra point was blocked.
After El Camino’s Michael Keegan hooked up with tight end D.J. Werner for an 8-yard scoring strike and a 26-19 lead on the Colts’ ensuing drive, but the Dons needed just four plays to take the lead. Matt Foppiano took the ensuing kickoff 58 yards to the El Camino 20, only to see the ball moved back to the Colts’ 35 because of an unsportsmanlike flag against the Dons.
It merely delayed the inevitable, however. After two rushes picked up a first down, Aragon quarterback Nat Blood found tight end Rodolfo Hernandez down the seam for a 20-yard score. Kono Filimoehala-Egan put the Dons ahead to stay when he took a pitch and bulled his way into the end zone for a 2-point conversion and a 27-26 Aragon lead.
Aragon’s Daniel Alas-Gomez picked off a Keegan pass on the Colts’ next possession and the Dons struck again, going 33 yards on seven plays, with Hernandez plunging in from two yards for the score and a 34-26 lead.
“I’m proud with our effort. We played El Camino football,” said El Camino coach Mark Turner. “We have the potential to be a good team. We have to be able to finish.”
The first half was as even a half of football one could see. The game was tied at 13 at halftime as Aragon piled 209 yards of offense and El Camino had 208. Both teams finished the first half with eight first downs.
Aragon (2-0 overall) had a chance to take the lead early, but Blood — who passed for 192 yards and a pair of touchdowns — was picked off at the El Camino 20.
El Camino (1-1) took over and had a long drive stall at the Aragon 32, turning the ball over on downs.
The Dons scored on their next possession, going 68 yards on nine plays, converting a fourth down in the process. Samujh capped the drive with a 7-yard touchdown run for a 6-0 Aragon lead.
El Camino came right back to take the lead on its next drive as Ruiz went in from three yards out to cap a nine-play, 85-yard drive.
Aragon was forced to punt on its next possession, the only punt of the game, and El Camino responded with a score when Gip bolted into the end zone from 26 yards out.
Aragon, however, tied the game just before halftime when Blood found Foppiano on an out pattern. He turned upfield, got a great downfield block from Filimoehala-Egan and went 42 yards untouched to tie the score at 13 with 27 seconds left in the first half.
“Our ability to throw the ball (was the difference),” Sell said. “We weren’t going to have that breakaway run. We had to create some big plays and fortunately we did that with the passing game.”