Preps

Friday, Nov 23 2012 11:52 PM

Ridgeview stuns Independence with amazing rally in final 20 seconds

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Independence at Ridgeview football playoff... Ridgeview runner Brandon Tripp shakes the tackle of Independence's Malcom Johnson (left) and picks up yardage in the first quarter Friday night.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Independence at Ridgeview football playoff... A pass intended for Independence's Derek Check (10) is just out of reach as he is covered by Ridgeview's Tevin Keeton in the first half Friday night.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Independence at Ridgeview football playoff... Ridgeview receiver Shaquan Baines hauls in this catch for a long gain that helped set up the Wolf Pack's first touchdown Friday night. Defender is Independence defensive back Preston Hodges.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Independence at Ridgeview football playoff... Ridgeview quarterback Kamari Cotton-moya (3) eludes the tackle attempt by Independence's DJ Reed on this run in the second quarter at Ridgeview Friday night.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Independence at Ridgeview football playoff... Independence quarterback Preston Hodges breaks into the open for a long gain on this run in the second quarter against Ridgeview Friday night. He would later score to tie the game at 14-14.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Independence at Ridgeview football playoff... Hit by Ridgeview defenders at the one yard line, Independence quarterback Preston Hodges was able to spin away and dive backwards into the endzone for a touchdown near the end of the first half Friday.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Independence at Ridgeview football playoff... Independence runner Jon Moore almost broke away from Ridgeview's Jacob Lopez (23) who got just enough of Moore's jersey to hang on for the tackle.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Independence at Ridgeview football playoff... Independence defensive back Preston Hodges makes a jersey-grabbing tackle of Ridgeview's Brandon Tripp in the first half Friday.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Independence at Ridgeview football playoff... Ridgeview's Brandon Tripp carries in the first alf against Independence at Ridgeview Friday night.

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Independence at Ridgeview football playoff... Ridgeview running back Brandon Tripp eludes the tackle of Independence's Brandon Robinson and braces for a hit from DJ Reed (right) on this carry deep in Independence territory in the first quarter Friday.

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BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer zewing@bakersfield.com

Ridgeview coach Dennis Manning took off his headset. Kamari Cotton-Moya, the Wolf Pack's star quarterback, sobbed quietly on the sideline. Hundreds of texts and tweets went out from Ridgeview, proclaiming an Independence victory.

But, to steal a line, reports of the Wolf Pack's demise were greatly exaggerated.

It took a blocked punt, a field goal from a backup kicker and a late interception -- all in the final 20 seconds -- but Ridgeview somehow beat Independence 30-28 on Friday night to advance to the Central Section Division III championship game for the second consecutive year.

The Wolf Pack will play host to No. 2 Dinuba at 7 p.m. Friday, looking for the program's first section title.

"I'll tell you one thing," Manning said afterward, still not quite believing his team was celebrating around him.

"We've got to be very thankful we're still playing."

Ridgeview (10-2) trailed 28-27 when Cotton-Moya lost a fumble with 1:06 left inside the Independence 20. The Wolf Pack had only one timeout remaining, so Independence coach Sean McKeown ran down from the press box, certain the Falcons could end the game with three kneel-downs. He even checked the arithmetic in his head

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