“Scary win” sends Antioch Panthers to first NCS Championship game since 1977

Antioch High players raise their helmets in victory as they leave the field following their 38-31 win over the Cal High Grizzlies, Saturday night, November 19, 2016

Antioch High players raise their helmets in victory as they leave the field following their 38-31 win over the Cal High Grizzlies, Saturday night, November 19, 2016

Panthers players are congratulated by their friends, family, fellow classmates and other fans.

Panthers players are congratulated by their friends, family, fellow classmates and other fans.

The Yoc Boys beat Cal High Grizzlies 38-31

By Allen Payton

In the second round of North Coast Section (NCS) high school football playoff action, Saturday night, the Antioch Panthers h3ld on to win 38-31 over the California High Grizzlies of San Ramon. It’s the first time the team has earned the opportunity to play for the the NCS Championship game since 1977. That game will be held in Dublin on Saturday, December 3rd against Monte Vista who beat Heritage High, Friday night.

As the players ran onto the field, after the clock ran out, the crowd chanted “Yoc Boys”, “Yoc Boys”, the nickname for the team.

After trailing 31-10 at half time, the Grizzlies battled back with two touchdowns within five minutes, during the third quarter bringing the score to 31-24. Then, with the ball on the Antioch 3-yard line and driving to tie the score with 10 minutes left in the game, Cal High fumbled. The Panthers were able to score on an 87-yard pass, just two plays, later.

The Grizzlies scored again on a long, touchdown pass a few minutes later. With the point after good, that made the score 38-31. Antioch was unable to answer on their following drive and made a quick kick punt, giving Cal High the ball deep in their own territory, with 2:02 left in the game.

Panthers' running back Najee Harris gives a victory pose, following the game.

Panthers’ running back Najee Harris gives a victory pose, following the game.

A sack and a penalty pushed the Grizzlies back to their own 14. After two incomplete passes, one of which was nearly intercepted, on third and fourth downs with 18 to go for a first down, Antioch took over at the California 14. The Panthers quarterback twice took a knee, to run out the clock.

When asked about his thoughts on the game, Antioch’s star player and the nation’s top high school running back, Najee Harris simply said, “Scary win.”

“They played their hearts out. I love my teammates,” he continued. “All I ask for is for people who give their all and they did. It was an ugly win but we came out victorious.”

Head Coach John Lucido shared his thoughts on the victory and his team.

“I’m so proud of the kids,” he said. “They listened to us all week long. The seniors didn’t want to go home. They wanted to make a big statement. They were part of last year’s team. They didn’t want to go out like that.”

“These are such great kids. They deserved this,” he continued. “We’ve gone through a lot this year. To come out and do what they did against a well coached team, like this, it shows heart. It shows character.”

“We look forward to playing in two weeks,” Lucido added.

#16 Ti'yahti Harris raises his helmet high in a victory salute, as he jogs off the field toward the stands with #52 Tevin Holmes.

#16 Ti’yahti Harris raises his helmet high in a victory salute, as he jogs off the field toward the stands with #52 Tevin Holmes.

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