The Quincy High School football team completed its regular season schedule with a big exclamation point last Friday night, when the Trojans defeated Portola 38-0.
With the win, Quincy took first place in the Mid-Valley League and received the number two seed in the Division IV playoffs.
The Trojans host seventh-seeded East Nicolaus this Friday night.
The Portola Tigers finished in a four-way tie for third place in the Mid-Valley League. As the eighth seed in the Division IV playoffs, Portola will play top-seeded Maxwell at Colusa High School this Friday.
Last Friday’s game between Quincy and Portola not only had big league and playoff implications, but it also marked the classic rivalry between the two most closely related communities in Plumas County.
The Tigers had bested Quincy over the past three seasons, but Quincy recaptured the perpetual trophy with a vengeance last Friday by shutting out a quality Portola team that had previously averaged more than 31 points a game.
“Our concern with Portola was their big plays,” said Quincy coach Tom Goss. “They run well enough to keep you honest, and then they kill you with their play action and big passes.”
Using man-on-man coverage, Quincy was able to shut down Portola’s passing game, which finished 0-for-8.
“I’m very proud of our kids,” said Goss. “They were very disciplined and stayed on their man. Zero-for-eight is absolutely huge.”
Quincy controlled the ball the entire night, finishing with 71 plays on offense compared to Portola’s 31 offensive plays.
The Portola Tigers were crippled by five turnovers — three interceptions and two fumbles. The Tigers were also hampered by four additional fumbles in the first half that were recovered by their own players.
On the other side of the ball, the Trojans racked up 383 rushing yards, averaging almost six yards a carry.
“The main key is the athleticism of all five kids on our offensive line,” said Goss. “It allows us to do a lot of things.”
Goss explained that he has two big, talented guards, Lane Labbe and Nate Brown, who are good at boxing out and trapping.
“It gives us a lot of flexibility to attack as a team,” said Goss. “We may not manhandle you and blow you off the line, but we’ll option you and trap you.”
With such a proficient offensive line, Quincy opened up big holes for fullback Alex Easley (29-for-125) and quarterback Cameron Diaz Deleon (26-for-165).
“It’s like having two fullbacks,” said Goss. “Easley and Cameron are very strong runners. They’re difficult to bring down.”
Quincy’s opening drive was perfectly scripted, as Easley and Diaz Deleon took turns gaining more than 10 yards a carry.
Once Quincy was within striking distance, Devonte Smith took his first handoff of the game and used his speed to get around the outside for Quincy’s opening touchdown.
The Trojans then faked the PAT kick and scored a two-point conversion with a pass from Keyshon Johnson to Cal Blanton.
Smith also scored Quincy’s second touchdown, followed by a hard-earned two-point conversion by Easley to give the Trojans a 16-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Quincy’s third touchdown came on a fourth-and-goal play one foot away from the end zone, when Diaz Deleon waltzed in for the score and then Easley delivered another two-point conversion. The Trojans led at halftime, 24-0.
Portola came out much improved in the second half and shut down Quincy through the third quarter, in part with a big interception by Oscar Romero.
Portola’s Klint Williams got in on 15 total stops on defense, and Christian Silva totaled 11 stops. Mario Rodriguez led with six solo tackles, while Williams and Kyle Heskett earned five solo tackles apiece. Michael Bemis delivered four tackles and four assists.
Portola’s offense was led by Heskett, with 102 rushing yards on 15 carries.
The Tiger’s offense put together a big drive late in the third quarter. But just when a Portola score seemed imminent, Quincy’s Justin Saltel stripped the ball near the goal line and Quincy recovered for a turnover.
Quincy’s next touchdown was set up with a big run by Smith, and then Diaz Deleon scored with a classic corner pylon dive. Easley again punched in the two-point conversion to give Quincy a 32-0 lead with 4:30 remaining in the game.
After the kickoff by Quincy, Blanton nabbed his second interception of the game on Portola’s first play of the drive.
The Trojans’ final touchdown came with two seconds remaining in the game, when Easley found the end zone.
After the teams congratulated each other, Goss retrieved the Quincy-Portola trophy from the far sideline and held it overhead as he tore across the field, chased by his players.
The Trojans’ playoff game against East Nicolaus, who they beat 26-24 earlier this season, begins at 7 p.m. this Friday, Nov. 12, at Feather River College.