Galileo Routs Mission for 18th Title
The Galileo Lions came into the AAA Championship game as the underdog #2 seed and some might even say their victory was an upset of #1 seed Mission which went through league 6-0 but if you ask any spectator at the match that day, they would think you were crazy. After Galileo lost to Mission, 40-36 in regular season play, it flipped the script and took things to another level by blowing out their next three opponents before escaping from Lincoln (22-17) in the playoffs to get to Mission. That Mission loss did something to the Lions-it turned a pride of lions into a hungry, angry, and swagger-emanating pack of wolves. As written by Kipling-“For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.” The imagery is not complete without seeing that the wolves are foaming at their mouths.
The Lions started the game with a fumble but it’s defense was Kipling-esque, swarming and attacking to keep the Bears off-balance the entire first half. The defense alone outscored the Bears 12-0. Galileo’s offense settled down and quickly produced one of the best all-around team efforts seen in AAA Championship history as five different players scored; three different players scored on the ground and three different players through the air.
Defensive standouts were led by linebackers; Jimmie Edwards, Antonio McBride, and Dasan King. The defensive line received all-city play from Ahmed Balwi and Johan Lacayo. The trio of defensive backs (Michael Duran, Ronald Fox, Yarvell Smith) were quick on the passes and rallied to run support in a hurry.
When the dust settled and the long second half came to an end, during the hand-shake, two of Galileo’s players were punched in the face and a ruckus broke out. As players and fans were separated, the awards ceremony was cancelled by the commissioner. Furthermore, Galileo was asked to wait on the field until Mission got on their bus and left. There were many accusations and threats made during that time; player suspension for the state game being one of them. In the end, everyone is okay and all potential penalties were lifted with the help of social media (clips of the punches were circulating even as the teams were being separated) and Mission’s administration support of Galileo having no wrong-doing.
Galileo finally received it’s trophy and medals a few days later and were recognized at Galileo’s Winter Assembly.
Here’s how the game went down:
-Mission kicks to Galileo. Yarvell Smith fumble after 5 plays at the 50.
-First 2 Galileo defensive plays; Erasmo Rivas tackle for loss then knocks down a pass.
-Mission punts into Galileo’s endzone.
–Galileo drives 80 yards-Rivas takes it in for the game’s first score on a 20-yard run. Smith 3-yard run for point after. G08-M00.
-Galileo onside kick by Adrian Poot, recovered by Michael Duran.
-Ronald Fox fumbles 3 plays later at Mission’s 19.
-Mission run 3 plays for -10 yards then botched a punt snap.
–Galileo scores on Smith’s 5-yard run. Fox run for point after. G16-M00. End of 1.
-Galileo onside fails-kick short of 10 yards.
–Mission fumbles on first play. Antonio McBride scoops and scores on a 51 yard run. Poot finds Jackie Guo for point after. G24-M00.
-Mission goes for it on 4th and 1 at their 34. Jimmie Edwards tackles for loss of 3 yards. Galileo ball at Mission 31.
-Poot fumbles on botched snap 2 plays later.
-Mission 4-and-out, punts to Galileo 38.
–Galileo scores 6 plays later on a Poot bubble pass to Rivas who spins away from 2 mission tacklers and a final stiff-arm on a third for the “Play of the Game”. Poot to Guo for the point after. G32-M00.
-Mission turns the ball over after 3 plays as Smith intercepts a pass at mid-field.
-Galileo stalls and punts.
–On Mission’s third play, Guo intercepts a pass and sprints 57 yards for the score. Smith rushes for point after. G38-M00. End of 2.
–Mission returns kick off for an 80-yard score and adds point after. G38-M08.
–Galileo responds on third and 10 with a Poot to Reese Bickart 72-yard TD pass. PAT no good. G44-M08.
-Mission drives to Galileo’s 5 and stalls.
–Poot fumbles in endzone. Mission recovers for a touchdown. PAT no good. G44-M14.
-Michael Duran intercepts Mission pass.
-Galileo turnover on downs in the red zone.
-Mission drives from their 10 to Galileo’s 15. Mission turnover on downs. G44-M14. End of 3.
-Galileo fails to convert on 4th down. Mission ball at their 46.
–Mission scores on quick screen after 4 plays. PAT no good. G44-M20.
–Galileo answers 3 plays later with a 45-yard run by Fox. PAT no good. G50-M20.
–Mission scores late with a 30-yard run. PAT good. G50-M28.
-Mission drives to Galileo’s 5 and stalls. Turnover on downs. G50-M28. End of 4.
Photos by R. Schnitzer & J. Huynh