Paul Kunst (24) gets behind the Johnson defense for a catch, long-run and TD!
The photos from this Novato Stingers game are now available on the 2009 Novato Stingers Shutterfly site.
Game SummaryIn their away white jerseys and home black pants, the Stingers hosted the Johnson Warriors on a sunny, cool and windy day at the Novato High School field. Novato won the coin toss and got the ball first and things looked good to start as Alec Ball (12) had a stong return and the Stingers started with excellent field position. But the Warriors held the Stingers to a three-and-out and the game quickly devolved into a defensive struggle. The Stingers threatened to score with the ball inside the Warriors five-yard line, but were unable to do so. At the end of the first quarter the game was still scoreless.
With 6:00 minutes remaining in the second quarter, the vaunted Stingers defense finally yielded their first points of the year, after 25 straight shutout quarters. After a long touchdown run Johnson scored the PAT and Novato was down for the first time all year, 0-7.
The Stingers quickly drove the ball back down the field on a combination of strong running and pass plays culminating with a critical fourth down attempt on the two-yard line. The Johnson line stopped Novato's attempt and took over on their own 1-yard line. Unfortunately, the Johnson running back burst through the middle on the very next play and ran the entire 99-yards for a seconds score. The teams went to half-time with Johnson up 13-0.
Novato came on strong in the second-half, with Johnny Viezcas (82) recovering Angelo Lagomarsino's (9) opening kick-off giving the ball to the Stingers. Novato wasn't able to capitalize and gave the ball back to Johnson. The Novato defense then had a stop when a swarm of defenders combined to strip a Johnson runner of the ball and it ended up in the hands of Hunter Wegner (18). That's when the Novato offense really came alive, with Ball throwing a half-back pass to a streaking Paul Kunst (24) who got behind the Johnson defender, caught a deflected ball and ran for a long touchdown. Mark Alvarez (21) kicked a two-point PAT and Novato was only down 13-8 with 3:10 left in the third quarter.
Novato made a big play on the ensuing kick-off, with Alvarez pouncing on another Lagomarsino onside kick. Alvarez followed it up with a streaking 21-yard run and Novato was seemingly back in control. Only, this time it wasn't meant to be. Novato fumbled on the Johnson 25 and gave back the ball.
In the fourth quarter, Johnson intercepted a long pass and then returned it for their third touchdown of the day with 7:18 left in the game. They missed the PAT, but Novato was down 19-8 and time was running out.
While Novato couldn't pull together another score in the final minutes, defensive lineman Ryan Johnson (54) gave them one last chance with a late fumble recovery in Warrior territory.
"This is a tough loss for us," said Coach John Jones, "but the kids played hard and didn't give up. We really beat ourselves in this one. I guess it will be a good lesson as we look at closing out the regular season next week and prepare for the playoffs."
Final Score: Johnson Warriors 19, Novato Stingers 8
2009 Stingers Record: 6-1
Defensive Points Allowed: 19! (over 7 games)
While the outcome wasn't what we were used to, the game was still exciting. Here are some pictures highlighting the great play during the day.
Quarterback Tommy Sanz (13) rolls out right and throws...
...to a diving Robbie Cassée (16) for a catch during the Stingers second drive
The Stingers give up their first points of the year after 25 shutout quarters
Daniel Hopkins (33) fires up the Stingers at half-time
Johnny Viezcas (82) comes up with his second onside kick in two weeks!
A Novato "swarm" strips the ball and Hunter Wegner (18) ends up with it
Mark Alvarez (21) comes up with an onside kick in the third-quarter
Daronn McCall (14) fights for yards in the fourth-quarter
Ryan Johnson (54) fights for a fumble late in the game
Cheers! - Jason