His offense had turned the ball over on four of its five second-half possessions and the season seemed on the verge of slipping away.
But each time Aragon had the ball in position to take the lead in Friday night’s Central Coast Section Large Division football semifinal, Menlo-Atherton’s Russell Perkins made a play and helped the Bears advance to the championship game with a 41-28 victory over Aragon.
Top-seeded Menlo-Atherton (11-1) now advances to next week’s championship, where they will meet the winner of today’s Palo Alto-North Salinas game.
The Bears wouldn’t have gotten there without Perkins. The junior defensive back made an interception inside his own 30-yard line with the Dons (9-3) down 34-28 and driving midway through the fourth quarter. Then, one play after Aragon’s Paul Slack preserved the six-point spread with an interception in his own end zone, Perkins forced a fumble after a short completion, picked it up and rambled to the 4-yard line. Two plays later, Bobby Bustos ran for a 1-yard touchdown, the final score in the Bears 41-28 victory.
“He was running an out pattern and I was a little late,” Perkins said of the late fumble recovery. “So I allowed him to get it then I hit it hard and scooped it up.”