In matchup of 7-0 teams, Half Moon Bay dials up big plays on its way to another victory
SAN MATEO — In a matchup between teams closing in on a perfect regular season, Half Moon Bay found a big play seemingly every time it needed one Friday nigh
Chase Hofmann ran 90 yards for a touchdown on the game’s first snap, his brother, Tristan, had a long kickoff return to set up a score after Aragon pulled even and Gavin Tomberlin threw two touchdown passes.
All were necessary as Half Moon Bay held on for a 21-14 victory to run its record to 8-0 overall and 3-0 in the Peninsula Athletic League’s Bay Division. Aragon fell to 7-1, 3-1.
“We’re just out here to prove a point to the Bay Division and show that we could play with them,” Chase Hofmann said.
Half Moon Bay has left no doubt that it can compete in the PAL’s top division, following its win last week over defending Bay champion Menlo-Atherton with an impressive victory on the road against the division’s only other undefeated team.
Sure, Half Moon Bay has only 25 or so players on its roster. That has been well-documented as the Cougars cruised past their first seven opponents, outscoring them by a combined 348-39.
But now Half Moon Bay has shown that it can win a tight one against an opponent also in the midst of a special season.
Half Moon Bay struck quickly as Hofmann found a hole in the middle of the field and kept on running until he crossed the goal line, the 90-yard burst giving the Cougars a 7-0 lead.
“I saw the opening and went for it,” said Hofmann, who had 162 yards in 25 carries. “That’s a regular option. Usually everyone’s on me, but there was no one there. I just saw the opening and took it.”
It did not stay tied for long.
Tristan Hofmann returned the kickoff to the Aragon 36. Two plays later, Tomberlin tossed a 35-yard strike to Dylan Williams for a 14-7 lead.
Aragon threatened to tie the score on its first possession of the third quarter, a 14-play marathon that ended with an incomplete pass from the Half Moon Bay 23.
The Cougars responded with a scoring drive of their own, capped by a 16-yard pass from Tomberlin to Hayden Von Almen in the left corner of the end zone.
“We knew it was going to be what our coaches like to call a fistfight, fighting for your brothers, the guys next to you,” Tomberlin said. “It’s awesome. The whole community came out. We travel well. It was a great fight.”
Down two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, Aragon was not done fighting. The Dons closed to within 21-14 when Gabe Campos fired a 24-yard pass to Lopeti Pierce with 7:22 left.
Aragon followed with an onside kick, which Half Moon Bay recovered near midfield.
The Dons eventually forced a punt, taking over at their own 22 with 3:59 to go. Aragon managed one first down but that was it.
Half Moon Bay stayed perfect. Aragon now has its first loss.
“We tried to comeback hard,” said Lautaimi, who finished with 116 yards in 27 carries. “But that’s a great team out there. We gave it our all. I wanted to win so bad. We wanted to be unbeaten, but we took the L today.”