San Jacinto defense makes late stand to hold off Beaumont
By Matt Jocks
BEAUMONT — It was fitting that San Jacinto began its celebration in its own end zone. That was the area the Tigers spent so much of Friday night fiercely defending.
Turning away one final scoring bid as time expired, the Tigers hung on for a wild 28-21 Mountain Pass League victory over Beaumont. San Jacinto (7-3, 4-1) secured second place in the MPL and a likely spot in the Division 5 playoffs.
It came down to four passes into the end zone from the 15 in the closing seconds. One was snagged by C.J. Clemmons just beyond the back line of the end zone, and the other three fell to the turf.
“Our defense has been keeping us in games all year,” San Jacinto coach Aric Galliano said.
With the Tigers’ offense and special teams suffering through a disastrous first half, the defense was repeatedly called on to keep San Jacinto in the game. Thanks to turnovers and failed fourth downs, Beaumont (5-5, 2-3) started four first-half drives in San Jacinto territory, including three inside the Tigers’ 40.
Beaumont, however, could turn those opportunities into only a 14-6 lead, one of those scores coming on a 56-yard reception by defensive lineman-turned-wideout C.J. Clemmons.
If the first half was wild, it turned crazy at the start of the second.
A missed handoff on the second-half kickoff was recovered by Beaumont’s Dylan Maraj at the San Jacinto 10, putting the Cougars at the doorstep again.
This time, San Jacinto, did better than keep Beaumont out of the end zone. Patrick Maria anticipated a swing pass, stepped in front and took the interception 83 yards for a touchdown.
“I saw them run that play against Tahquitz,” Maria said. “They ran that same outside play and when I saw it, I just went for it.”
San Jacinto drove for a go-ahead touchdown on […]