Lowell put up a fight, but Mission hangs on to secure trip to title game

Aaron Perez/Special to The ExaminerMission QB Davon Hargraves

Mission’s defense was far from dominant against Lowell in the Academic Athletic Association semifinals, but when the Bears needed it, they got the stops.

After Lowell scored on the first possession of the second half to cut the Mission lead to 28-24, the Cardinals recovered an onside kick and appeared to seize momentum, but the Mission defense held strong and didn’t allow a point for the rest of the game to lead the Bears to a 42-24 win on Thursday at Kezar Stadium.

Following the onside kick, the Bears (8-3) forced a punt after a Lowell three-and-out, then stopped the Cardinals (5-5) on the Mission 5-yard line midway through the fourth quarter and forced another turnover on downs in Mission territory with 1:34 remaining.

“We bent but didn’t break,” Mission coach Joe Albano said. “They were coming up with some big runs, came out with some different formations and ran the ball down our throats, but we eventually got stronger and stopped them.”

The Cardinals came out with an entirely different game plan than last week’s 20-0 loss to Mission, primarily running junior quarterback Michael McCarthy on direct-snap, straight-forward runs.

In his first start of the season, McCarthy ran for 199 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries, played the entire game at cornerback on defense, and also recovered the Lowell onside kick, as the kicker.

“He does everything for us, and was our starting quarterback heading into the season, but he does so many other things,” Lowell coach Danny Chan said.

The change in game plan visibly surprised the Bears, who held the Lowell double-wing rushing attack to less than 100 yards last week.

“It wasn’t there at all last week,” Albano said. “It was brand new, and God bless those guys for coming out with that.”

McCarthy was the game’s most consistent runner, but to put the game away, Mission took a page out of the Lowell playbook.

Every play Mission called in the fourth quarter was a run by senior quarterback Davon Hargraves, who scored on runs of 25 and 76 yards in the final frame.

“We just tried to spread them out and run the ball with him,” Albano said. “He wants the ball in crunch time, so I’ll give him the ball.”

Hargraves finished with 173 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries and also threw for 90 yards and a touchdown on 7-of-10 passing.

“This year, the seniors just had to step it up,” Hargraves said. “A lot of stuff wasn’t going our way, so we had to make the plays.”

The Mission win sets up a showdown in the AAA championship game with Washington in a battle of the best two teams in the league for the past two years. Mission will look to claim its first AAA title since 1954.

“It’s just great to see the kids get excited about playing with each other and as a team, and enjoying this moment on the field,” Albano said.

Preps sports coverage provided in partnership by The San Francisco Examiner and www.SanFranPreps.com

 

Turkey Bowl

Washington (9-2) vs. Mission (8-3)

WHEN: Thursday, 11 a.m.

WHERE: Kezar Stadium

PREVIOUS MEETING: Washington beat Mission 28-7 during the regular season

LAST YEAR: Washington is the defending Turkey Bowl champion

MissionPrep SportssportsTurkey Bowl

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

PG&E is locked in a battle with San Francisco city officials over the cost of connecting city projects using public power to the grid.<ins> (Courtesy photo)</ins>
SF challenges PG&E’s power moves

Utility uses expensive hookups to discourage public power use

Mayor London Breed said The City would pause reopening plans in order to “make sure we continue our cautious and deliberate approach.” <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
SF slows down reopening after COVID-19 cases rise

Restaurants no longer permitted to increase indoor dining capacity to 50 percent

Toilet (Shutterstock)
Table salt and poop: Testing for COVID-19 in S.F. sewage

The City’s sewers could provide an early warning of fresh outbreaks

A study published in the December 2016 Scientific Reports journal reveals that brain activity increases when people’s political beliefs are challenged. <ins>(Screenshot Scientific Reports)</ins>
Now is the time to make friends with enemies

We can be civil to others who have different political beliefs

Most Read