Ben Purcell was too wired to doze off.
The Del Campo High School senior quarterback tossed and turned and replayed scoring drives, turning-point moments and celebration scenes well into the wee hours Saturday. And then he relived it all over during a lengthy game-film review with teammates and coaches.
Visiting Del Campo beat No. 19 Roseville 64-57 in triple overtime on Friday in the season’s most frenetic shootout, a rousing way to open Capital Valley Conference play.
“Craziest game, and also the funnest game I’ve been in,” Purcell said. “I was so hyped, I couldn’t calm myself down. Didn’t go to sleep until 3:30 in the morning.”
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Purcell had three touchdown passes in a spirited duel with Roseville’s Blake Rayback, who passed for four touchdowns. All of those points, and it came down to a stop.
A short pass to Roseville tight end Jimmy Jaggers, a national recruit, advanced the ball to the Del Campo 15. Jaggers was stopped by three defenders, though he didn’t go down. Nikolas Daley stripped the ball and raced the other way 85 yards for a touchdown.
Roseville players and coaches thought forward progress had been established, arguing and pleading with referees that there was a whistle to stop the play. Del Campo players and coaches, of course, wanted a touchdown, and to escape Placer County with a victory.
“I started running down the sideline with Daley to celebrate, then we had to sit back and wait a moment as the referees talked it over,” Purcell said. “Then it was over, and there was a feeling of relief.”
Purcell said focus is a theme hammered home this season by coaches Mike Dimino and Steve Kenyon. The Cougars (3-1) have responded from an early 54-35 loss to Rocklin to beat Rosemont 49-0 and Roseville with more challenges looming in No. 16 Whitney and No. 15 Cosumnes Oaks. Purcell took this season personally, vowing to get Del Campo back into the playoffs after missing out in 2014.
“Del Campo football is based on mental toughness,” Purcell said. “It was a 15-round fight, we fought to the end, and we won. What a game.”
It was 42-42 after regulation. Dimino said he’d never been involved in a game like this. Same with Roseville coach Larry Cunha, who said, simply, “Great game.”
Del Campo football is based on mental toughness. It was a 15-round fight, we fought to the end, and we won. What a game.
Quarterback Ben Purcell on the Cougars’ 64-57 victory over No. 19 Roseville in triple overtime
More wildness – Frantic finishes were a theme as No. 7 Oak Ridge beat Woodcreek 35-28 in double overtime to open Sierra Foothill League action. Ian Book hit Michael Pittman for the winner, and the Trojans made a stop on Woodcreek’s second overtime possession. Kevin Kassis stalled Woodcreek’s potential game-winning drive in regulation with an interception.
Oak Ridge is getting used to this, even if coach Eric Cavaliere and his staff are not. The Trojans opened with a 57-55 win over Whitney and were coming off a 54-42 loss at 4-0 Reed of Sparks, Nev.
Woodcreek first-year co-coach Kyle Stowers said his team can grow from defeat, telling players afterward: “This is the most proud I’ve ever been of you. The more you put into something, the more it hurts and this should hurt, but you have nothing to be ashamed of. You proved you can play with anyone in the SFL tonight, and it hasn’t been like that around here.”
Hospital visits – San Juan’s 40-8 loss to Golden Sierra in a Sierra Delta opener hurt well beyond the score.
Star players Romeo Johnson and Memo Rocha were hospitalized after sustaining injuries, though both were discharged by midnight. Johnson, initially feared to have a spinal injury, suffered a back strain. The wide receiver was moving all of his extremities before entering the ambulance. Rocha, a linebacker, sustained a hip strain. First-year Spartans coach Jordan McGowan said both will be fine.
“Johnson’s injury was scary because he almost went into shock because he was hyperventilating,” McGowan said.
Touchdown moment – In a scene as emotional as it was genuine, Calaveras senior Kyle Chaboya experienced a dream-come-true moment.
Late in the half, with a 22-0 lead over rival Bret Harte, Chaboya entered a game for the first time, took a handoff and wound up in the end zone, assisted by teammates Austin Garant and Cameron Moore. He was mobbed by jubilant teammates and lifted into the air, the highlight of an emotional few weeks with nearby fires, punctuating a 36-8 victory.
“Oh my God, it was awesome. Everything that this coaching staff and team have done for me, it’s just amazing,” Chaboya told Thomas Lawrence of the Stockton Record. “Five years of putting in hard work, and not being able to play, and wishing. My dream finally came true.”
Said coach Jason Weatherby, “Kyle has been with these guys since they were in the sixth grade. The same senior group has embraced him ever since.”
Five years of putting in hard work, and not being able to play, and wishing. My dream finally came true.
Calaveras senior Kyle Chaboya on scoring a touchdown in his first game
Feel-good triumph – Middletown won its first game, beating Lower Lake 21-0 in offering a bit of reprieve to families, fans and followers from the devastating fires that left some 1,200 homes in ash and ruin in Lake County.
Middletown’s football stadium was used Thursday night as a meeting spot for community members discussing ways to rebuild their lives as evacuation orders were lifted. Middletown players and coaches have been moved by the outpouring of support and donations, including from El Molina High of Forestville, which raised $10,000 for relief efforts. Players, coaches and administrators lost homes to the fires.
Coleman Drew rushed for two touchdowns and Connor Armstrong had a touchdown pass for Middletown, inspired by supporters wearing school-color purple T-shirts that read “Back From the Ashes: Middletownstrong.”