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Everything could have gone the other way for Campolindo’s senior class.
There could have not been a season. They never could have garnered the opportunity to play their final high school campaigns. Many players’ football careers would have ended outside of their control because of a pandemic.
Yet, the Cougars got it all. They withstood all adversity all their way.
And, today, they are champions, as the No. 11 Campolindo Cougars (5-0) secured a Diablo Foothill Athletic League title with a 38-28 victory over Las Lomas (1-3) on Friday evening in Moraga.
“It’s indescribable,” said Campolindo senior receiver/safety Maxwell Weaver. “We’ve grinded since the fall. It’s been months. We didn’t know if we were even going to be able to play, and to be able to play in a championship game means the world to me. We came out. We’re a brotherhood. We competed. We got the job done.”
Las Lomas took a 14-7 lead behind touchdowns from Frank Payne on a 1-yard run and an Emmanuel Karnley punt return score, but Campolindo seized control after that with some big drives.
Senior running back Dillan Thoms capped the first quarter with a 24-yard touchdown run to tie the contest at 14-14, which he then followed with a 5-yard run to put the Cougars ahead 21-14 with 2:55 remaining in the first half.
From there, it was all Campolindo, as its passing attack and defense came up with timely plays throughout the entire second half.
Jake Leuteneker picked off a pass. Cole Jeter broke up countless passes. Army signee Jelani Matai Bell made multiple stops in the backfield.
Campolindo senior quarterback Jacob Griessel later found a wide open senior Max Heffernan for a 58-yard touchdown early in the third quarter, making it a 28-14 lead. A field goal and a touchdown from Weaver put the game out of the reach and help the Cougars come through as a league champion despite all of the obstacles thrown their way.
“I think the only reason we get through this is we all stuck together,” said Campolindo junior lineman Elijah Klock. “We have such a tight bond, and we’re just such a tight family dynamic.”
Weaver was the star of the show, as the Davidson senior poured it on the Las Lomas defense throughout the contest.
He caught seven passes for 146 yards and a score, marking the second straight week he amassed 100 yards after totaling 121 a week ago. Weaver also had a 54-yard run.
With the gaudy numbers Friday, Weaver – who also stepped away from football for a year as a sophomore two years ago – is up to 417 yards this season.
Griessel completed 11 of 20 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns. It was his second-highest output of the year, only behind the 259 yards he threw for in the season-opening win at Freedom.
“We work at practice every day,” Griessel said. “We’ll do throwing sessions with each other. But we were definitely able to take advantage of a lot of 1-on-1 situations today that they were willing to give us, and he just goes up and makes plays, even if it’s not the best throw. He has a massive catch radius. If you put it near him, he’ll go up and get it. He makes it easy for me.”
Thoms produced another workmanlike game out of the backfield, carrying the ball 24 times for 101 yards and three touchdowns – the fourth time in five games he reached 100 yards.
Moving back from Utah for his senior season, Dillan’s season totals now read 523 rushing yards and six touchdowns.
“It was a major boost having him,” Griessel said. “We had him freshman and JV year, and he was a stud. It was sad to see him go, but definitely him coming back has been a major, major step up in terms of our running game. He’s definitely done a great job. He’s been the rock all year. Definitely the reason we’ve been winning games.”
Payne led Las Lomas with 95 rushing yards on 11 carries, including two touches that went for 18 yards.
Junior Jermaine Land caught four passes for 84 yards and a touchdown, alongside 35 rushing yards on seven carries.
Las Lomas concludes its slate versus Benicia at 7 p.m. April 16, while Campolindo looks to complete an undefeated season when it travels to Miramonte at 7 p.m. April 16.
“We play for our seniors and we give our seniors their last game, we get a dub and we crush Miramonte,” Klock said.
Link to Photo Gallery
Passing: Michael Wood: 8-14, 84 yards, 2 TD. Dimond Loosli: 6-12, 64 yards.
Rushing: Frank Payne: 11 carries, 95 yards, TD. Jermaine Land: 7 carries, 35 yards. Andrew Ergood: 1 carry, 7 yards. Michael Wood: 1 carry, 5 yards. Dimond Loosli: 1 carry, 1 yard.
Receiving: Jermaine Land: 7 catches, 84 yards, TD. Jabre Bevineau: 3 catches, 42 yards. Emmanuel Karnley: 2 catches, 19 yards, TD. Lance Heinan: 1 catch, 7 yards. Alex Lisi: 1 catch, 6 yards.
Passing: Jacob Griessel: 11-20, 244 yards, 2 TD.
Rushing: Dillan Thoms: 24 carries, 101 yards, 3 TD. Maxwell Weaver: 1 carry, 54 yards. Jacob Griessel: 5 carries, 14 yards. JT Clarke: 1 carry, 2 yards.
Receiving: Maxwell Weaver: 7 catches, 146 yards, TD. Max Heffernan: 1 catch, 58 yards, TD. Joey Schmidt: 2 catches, 34 yards. Cooper Ciruli: 1 catch, 6 yards.
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