With electric clippers buzzing in hand, Austin Emley was calling for Jack Greer, inciting a chant by the rest of the Morro Bay High football team.
Just outside the locker room door after a last-minute 20-13 win over Santa Ynez on Friday, two Morro Bay assistant coaches got buzzed, including Greer, the defensive coordinator who agreed to take a mullet if Morro Bay (2-3, 1-0 Los Padres League) bucked its three-game football losing streak.
“I said, ‘If we get a win, guys, I’ll do a mullet,’ ” Greer said. “If we get a shutout, they could shave my chest. We didn’t get a shutout.“Our spirits were down a little bit. We had played well the last few weeks, but we had lost a couple of games in the fourth quarter. Our kids have been working so hard and diligently in practice, and I figured if this was going to get us over the top, what the heck? Let’s do it.”
First, Emley — a 6-foot-3 senior tight end — delivered on the field with a 32-yard alley-oop catch up the left sideline to set up the game’s go-ahead score. Then when the game was over, he delivered the clippers to Sam Crizer, Morro Bay’s other offensive hero.
Just as he does on the field, Crizer took complete control of the head-shaving process.
He also passed for 202 yards and a touchdown, rushed for 89 yards and two more scores and launched the 56-yard punt that pinned Santa Ynez (1-4, 0-2 LPL) deep and allowed Morro Bay to get the ball back for one last chance to avoid overtime in the fourth quarter.
Collapses in the final period have cost Morro Bay in two of its past three games.
“All season, our fourth quarter hasn’t been very good,” Crizer said. “And we finally stepped up, made big plays at the right time. That fourth-down play in the corner to Austin Emley, that was a hell of a catch, and I’m just in awe right now.”
Just when press box members were asking for a refresher course on CIF-Southern Section overtime rules, Morro Bay went 79 yards in less than three minutes for the clinching score.
Jake Beavers, who finished with four catches for 46 yards, and Jesse Landry, who had three for 60 and a 33-yard touchdown earlier in the game, each moved the chains with big catches on the final drive.
Emley made the grab of the game, jumping over a shorter Santa Ynez defensive back and leaning out of bounds at the 1-yard line with 13.1 seconds left to convert on fourth-and-10 from the 32-yard line for Morro Bay.
“That’s really the first jump ball we’ve put up there,” Crizer said, “and he just made a great play. I put it in the one place he could get it, and he just jumped up and grabbed it.”
Crizer rushed it in from inside the 1 on the next play, and after a squib kick, Santa Ynez was unable to execute a last-gasp play filled with laterals.
Even Morro Bay head coach John Andree was thinking overtime after his team came up empty on a deep ball similar to the one Emley caught.
Landry had his man beat in almost the same exact spot just two plays earlier. But running a corner route to the pylon, Landry had to turn to the outside while the ball was in the air and appeared to lose track of it.
The ball actually hit Landry in the hands but plopped to the ground when he couldn’t hold on.
“I was thinking that was our chance,” Andree said. “Jesse, I just looked at him and thought he hasn’t come off the field for us tonight. I don’t know if he has anything left in the tank. Then we went to a different formation and isolated Austin.”
Santa Ynez tied the score at 13 with 7:56 left in the game on fullback Jason Miranda’s 10-yard touchdown run up the middle, his second of the game. Miranda finished with 64 yards on nine carries, and Cole Hollingsworth had 104 yards on 17 rushing attempts for Santa Ynez.
At 0-2, Santa Ynez has an uphill battle in the LPL race, but Morro Bay heads into next week’s matchup at Nipomo rejuvenated.
“This is a big game for us,” Andree said. “I felt this is the turning point for our season. Another loss, and it’s hard to keep the kids going, but a win now, and we’re 1-0 in league and I told them it’s a new season.
“It’s anybody’s game, and we’re just hoping we can be in the mix.”