Buena Loses to Serrano Diamondbacks in CIF Division 8 Final 14-21

Long snapper senior Josh Torres pre-snap before a Bulldogs punt.

Kevin Cox and Tanner Coatsworth, Staff Writer

As the clock struck zero on the scoreboard, the silence of the Buena stands echoed louder than Serrano’s screams of victory.  The final attempt to tie the game, a jump ball thrown in the direction of wide receivers senior Jackson Geier and junior Colin Guenther could not complete the pass, at that moment Buena’s historic season came to an end. the Bulldogs had been defeated by the Diamondbacks 14-21.

Buena came out very aggressive in the 1st quarter of the game, a 27-yard passing connection thrown by junior Zane Carter to Guenther, who put them on Serrano’s half of the field within the first minutes of the game. 

Following that play, Carter targeted senior Jacob Murphy for a 14-yard screenpass to set them up within the redzone. After another 1st down, Buena had managed to place themselves within the Diamondbacks’ goal line, which led to a five yard rushing touchdown from Carter.

The Diamondbacks were quick to respond with their own scoring drive marching down the field. With less than a minute left during the 1st quarter, Serrano Diamondback senior Tanner Chaffee responded with his own six yard rushing touchdown into the endzone. Then they completed a PAT shortly after the first quarter had ended with matching scores of 7-7.

During the beginning of the second quarter, the Bulldogs had to begin their drive on the four yard line of their own endzone. Buena had managed to pull themselves all the way to Serrano’s 37-yard line before a breakthrough reception from Carter to Murphy for 21-yards. This allowed the team to be within the Diamondbacks’ redzone for the second time of the night. The drive was later ended with a rushing touchdown by  Murphy to put the score 14-7 in favor of the Bulldogs.

After multiple failed scoring attempts from both sides of the ball the first half had come to a conclusion with Buena maintaining the lead 14-7 .

“The plan for the second half was to continue how we had played during the first half of the game, basically treating the game as if it was 0-0 again,” Murphy said.

I feel disappointed that we lost but I am very proud of my team for the accomplishments we have made this season

— Jacob Murphy

The second half started with the Diamondbacks trampling through Buena’s defense resulting in Serrano being inside of the Bulldogs redzone. On a crucial 3rd and 8 inside of Buena’s redzone, the Diamondbacks ran a reverse sweep in an attempt to get past Buena defenders. This play was quickly interrupted by linebacker Roma Barrios who met the Diamondback rusher at the line of scrimmage and forced a fumble. The fumble was recovered by free-safety senior Manny Mendez, which saved the Bulldogs from a potential game tying drive.

Buena put the ball in the hands of Murphy once again for a 14-yard rush which created more space for Bulldogs during their drive. The following play of the Bulldogs offensive drive was a pass attempt by Carter, which was intercepted by Serrano’s corner junior Trevor Sturdevant who was quickly chased down and tackled. Serrano failed to capitalize on the field position they had, resulting in another scoreless quarter, Buena ahead 14-7. 

“The interception was a huge momentum killer, everything that we had worked for on defense was for nothing,” senior Brandon Rice said.

The fourth quarter was a show of back and forth drives from both teams that failed to produce any points. It was not until a 35-yard rushing touchdown from running back Rigo Cabral that points were scored, the PAT was completed and Serrano had tied the game 14-14. The Bulldogs offensive drive ended shortly after the kick-off forcing bulldogs punter Rice to punt the ball to the Diamondbacks. 

Serrano had trouble moving the chains after receiving the punt and were stuck with a 3rd and long situation. The Diamondbacks attempted a passing play which they had  attempted five times prior in the game. Quarterback junior Payton Cornell connected to wide receiver Chaffee for a 79-yard touchdown pass to put the Diamondbacks ahead 21-14 with only a minute left on the clock.

Buena’s final drive ended in a hail mary attempt to wide receivers Geier and Guenther, which was batted down from two of Serrano’s defenders, leaving the final score of the game being 14-21, a heartbreaking loss for the Bulldogs in their first ever CIF championship. 

“Our defense played great during the second half,” Rice said “We struggled to get any momentum on offense which contributed to the loss.”