The eight versus nine seed game in the North Coast Section Division V playoffs never materialized into the close battle that many expected from the middle seeds, as eight seed Cloverdale controlled things from the outset and steadily pulled away for a 31-12 win over visiting Arcata.
After a scoreless first quarter, Cloverdale quarterback Shayne Turner got the Eagles (7-4) on the board with a touchdown on the ground, though Arcata responded on its following possession. Kien Mazzotti's long run set up a nine-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Madero, but the extra-point failed, leaving Cloverdale in front, 7-6. A nice kickoff return then gave Cloverdale the ball at the Arcata 37-yard line, and Cesar Buenrostro carried it down to the two-yard line a few plays later. Jone Wesele capped the drive with a two-yard scoring run for a 14-6 Eagles' lead.
After Arcata went for it on fourth down from its own 49-yard line, Cloverdale took advantage of good field position once again, this time right before halftime. Turner hit Garrett Robinson for an 11-yard gain to the Tigers' 38-yard line, and Turner then hooked up with Buenrostro to get the ball down to the one-yard line. Buenrostro capped the drive with a one-yard plunge for a 21-6 lead at the break.
Mazzotti cut into the Cloverdale lead early in the third quarter with his 12-yard touchdown run, which made it 21-12, and it stayed that way headed into the fourth quarter. Early in the fourth quarter, a 20-yard burst by Wesele carried the ball inside the Arcata red zone, and the drive resulted in a field goal for a 24-12 lead. After the Cloverdale defense held inside its own territory on the next Arcata drive, Buenrostro broke loose for a 46-yard scoring run to put the game out of reach.
Cloverdale will now face top-seeded Kelseyville in the quarterfinals. Kelseyville defeated the Eagles earlier this season, 22-15.