NAPA, Calif - The streak is over. It had been 32 years since the Vintage football team had won a playoff game, but with its 36-0 win Friday night at Napa Memorial Stadium the drought ended.
“It’s great thing. We needed to kinda break the seal, right,” Vintage coach Dylan Leach enthusiastically explained. “I’m very excited about our opportunities, and we’re just blessed to play this game man. This is a beautiful game. I don’t know if there’s a better game than football in the world, so just to get another week we talked about it over at Valley Oak when we were warming up. We fight for another week to hang out with each other - this is all it is right, it’s us brothers hanging out with each other and that’s all it comes down to.”
“It means everything to us (with) everything we did and everything we worked for,” Vintage senior running back and linebacker Viliami Schaumkel said of ending the playoff drought. “And 32 years of them not winning a playoff game and everyone that’s just been behind our back, all the alumnus that have been coming out of the woodwork and just supporting us through this journey - we’re just ready for whoever’s next.”
The first drive of the game had the game changing play. Crushers kicker Eddy Gonzalez kicked a 40-yard field goal with 6:09 left in the first quarter that was no good, but James Logan roughed Gonzalez to give Vintage a crucial first down. Following the penalty, the Crushers (9-2) scored with 4:37 left in the quarter when Jacob Aaron hooked up with Schaumkel for a seven-yard touchdown pass. The drive took 15 plays, went 72 yards, and chewed 7:23 off the clock.
“Usually we would defer. We felt against league teams we wanted to defer and get that extra possession in the second half - we figured we could stop a team. This time we wanted to get the ball and go down and create a seven, eight minute drive and that’s exactly what we did,” Leach said of the game's initial drive.
Schaumkel had three more touchdowns on the night, all of which came on rushes. He had a snazzy 23-yard scamper in the second quarter to go along with rushes of three and two yards respectively. He ended the night with 112 yards on 15 carries.
Vintage got a rare safety with 9:43 left in the game when Jesus Gavin blocked a Colts (7-4) punt.
The Crushers' final score came when Troy Ghisletta found the end zone from three yards out with 6:10 left.
Another thing that made Leach happy was pitching a shutout because last week James Logan put up an eye-popping 78 points against Kennedy-Fremont.
“I think the zero on the board. These guys average about 60 a game from what I’ve been seeing,” he said. “They put up 79 last week. We felt in the first half that we didn’t play well. Defensively we felt like we were good scheme wis, but we were really bad with our tackling. So we feel like if we can improve on that like we have been over the year that it would’ve been worse, so excited about the defense. Coach (Kyle) Archer man the effort and the energy he brings, Coach Garcia he’s the wise man - he’s the widom guy, and then coach (Dennis) Raines is the best motivator I’ve ever been around, so we’re really excited to have that staff and have those guys work as hard as they do.”
With the loss James Logan’s season is over. As for Vintage they will travel to Antioch next Friday night to face Antioch. The Panthers had a bye week this week by virtue of being the top seed.
“We’ve got to go see the number one seed, so again we know what we’re in for,” Leach explained of the matchup with the No. 1 seed Panthers. “It’s another night with big, fast, strong, athletic kids and a great coaching staff. Those guys have been around a long time and they do a great job over there, so it is what it is. And I told our staff this in the meeting ‘I don’t care when we see the No. 1, we’re going to have to see them anyway sometime, so let’s see them right now and see how we do’. They’re a great team and we know that and we’ve just got to recoup and get a good game plan together and execute.”