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SRV rallies together in heroic comeback

Za’Darion Nardi scored twice in San Ramon Valley’s 31-24 win over Cal. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo
Za’Darion Nardi scored twice in San Ramon Valley’s 31-24 win over Cal. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo

San Ramon Valley had every reason to lose this game, but it banded together and pulled off the incredible.

Trailing 24-17 with just over two minutes remaining, the Wolves were backed into a corner, with their hopes of winning for the third time this spring looking grim. They had no timeouts left and needed to drive 77 yards to tie the ballgame and hopefully send it into overtime.

Well, they drove the length of the field and more. The No. 8 San Ramon Valley Wolves forced a turnover after the score and then scored again, pulling out the incredible 31-24 victory over the No. 17 California Grizzlies (2-2) on Saturday evening in Danville.

In every single win this season, San Ramon Valley has won by one score.

“Honestly, we just came together as a team in those last two minutes,” said San Ramon Valley junior linebacker Jack Catterton. “We just all brought each other up, even when we were making mistakes. Credit to our coaches and everyone on our team. We just came together as a team and had a great win.”

Cal looked to have given San Ramon Valley the final gut punch with 3:40 remaining in the fourth quarter on a trick play, as quarterback Teddy Booras threw the ball to receiver Jake Calcagno in the backfield, who then threw the ball to Dominick Tuyor for 58 yards and a score. That made it a 24-17 ballgame, and then SRV was stopped one possession later, making its chances of winning even slimmer.

The Grizzlies drove into San Ramon Valley territory and got to the 32-yard line. SRV made a stop on a fake punt at the 33, as Jack Catteron stuffed the play for a loss of one yard.

From there, with no timeouts left, the heroics officially commenced in one of the most thrilling finishes imaginable.

Jack Quigley found JP Murphy for a 22-yard gain. Quigley had a crucial 11-yard run. 

Quigley then hit Murphy – a San Diego State signee for a 16-yard touchdown, with Murphy making a fantastic catch in the right side of the endzone. That made it 24-24 with 1:13 remaining, giving Cal a chance to potentially win this game.

“JP is just JP, honestly,” Quigley said. “He’s so athletic . You can just throw it up to him and he’s going to come down with it. When we were driving down there in the back left corner, he had a foot in. I have so much trust in that guy. Just throw it up and he’s going to come down with it.”

But Za’Darion Nardi forced a fumble on a pass up the middle, which was recovered by Trevor Donathan to the Cal 10-yard line. One play later, Quigley found Nardi wide open on a 10-yard touchdown pass, a play that gave the Wolves the 31-24 lead with 48 seconds left.

Cal would get inside the SRV 40, but a couple of incompletions at the end gave SRV its third win in four contests. 

“We practice it every day: two-minute drill,” Nardi said. “We just had to lock in. Jack made some incredible throws. Caleb made incredible catches. We just came together as a team and locked in.”

In the first half, Cal took control of the contest and took a 17-14 lead into the half.

Josh Gerlach intercepted three passes, and two of those led to an eventual 10 points for the offense. Teddy Booras threw two touchdown strikes to Tyler Jarvis, and it was a three-point lead heading into the locker room.

Then, SRV’s defense stepped up big in the second half. It forced a pair of turnovers, including the fumble that led to the game-winning score. It held Cal to seven points – occurring on a trick play – and 96 yards in the final 12 minutes, too.

Catterton’s 16 tackles, six tackles for loss and four pass breakups led the way.

“I think in general we came out slow, but we had a good halftime speech,” said San Ramon Valley sophomore receiver Caleb Padrid. “Guys didn’t want to lose. I think that’s the best part about this team. We hate to lose and came out in our way in the end.”

Quigley, after tossing three picks in the first half, finished with 222 passing yards and two touchdowns – both scores came on his final two passes.

Padrid was Quigley’s top target on the night. The top 2023 athlete brought in seven passes for 93 yards, putting him at 226 for the year.

Padrid opened the slate with 97 yards on six catches against Las Lomas.

“He just adds so much to the offense with his speed,” Quigley said. “Whether it’s just sending him over across the formation on a little bubble screen or just a hitch, he can turn a 5-yard play into a 80-yard play. He’s just that kind of player, and we’re lucky to have him.”

Murphy finished with 51 yards and the game-tying touchdown on four receptions. Caden Ridley had 43 yards on four grabs. 

Nardi ran 16 times for 96 yards and a touchdown, also adding a 10-yard touchdown catch to win the ballgame. Charlie Tagliaferri totaled 63 yards on 11 touches. 

For Cal, Booras – following a 306-yard effort the week prior – completed 22 of 37 passes for 201 yards and two scores.

Three Cal receivers amassed 60 yards, led by Dominick Tuyor’s season-high 95 yards and a touchdown on five catches. Jake Calcagno had another strong showing, hauling in 11 passes for 90 yards to push his total to 400 yards through four games. Darius Foster tallied 68 yards on four receptions. Jarvis had two touchdown catches.

Jake Hubbard rushed for 83 yards on 13 carries before leaving with an injury in the fourth quarter. One of the Bay Area’s top rushers, Hubbard is up to 360 yards this season.

Another tough matchup for Cal awaits, looking to get back into the win column at 7 p.m. April 10 versus No. 1 De La Salle. San Ramon Valley hosts No. 7 Clayton Valley Charter – the defending state champion – in a top 10 matchup at 7 p.m. April 10.

Link to Photo Gallery

Box Score: 

California

Passing: Teddy Booras – 22-37, 201 yards, 2 TD. Jake Calcagno – 1-1, 58 yards, TD.

Rushing: Jake Hubbard – 13 carries, 83 yards. Jake Calcagno – 4 carries, 10 yards. Giovanni Phillips – 6 carries, 10 yards. Teddy Booras – 5 carries, 1 yards.

Receiving: Dominick Tuyor – 5 catches, 95 yards. Jake Calcagno – 11 catches, 90 yards. Darius Foster – 4 catches, 68 yards. Tyler Jarvis – 1 catches, 19 yards, 2 TD. Jake Hubbard – 1 catch, -2 yards.

San Ramon Valley

Passing: Jack Quigley – 18-30, 222 yards, 2 TD. 

Rushing: Za’Darion Nardi – 16 carries, 96 yards, TD. Charlie Tagliaferri – 11 carries, 63 yards. Jack Quigley – 6 carries, 41 yards. Caleb Padrid – 1 carry, -7 yards.

Receiving: Caleb Padrid – 7 catches, 93 yards. JP Murphy – 4 catches, 51 yards. Caden Ridley – 4 catches, 43 yards. Za’Darion Nardi – 1 catch, 10 yards.

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