A windy night couldn’t stop the right leg of Nipomo’s Juan Eguiluz.
The senior kicker powered a 37-yard field goal through the wind and the uprights as time expired to give Nipomo a 17-14 win over Twentynine Palms in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Northwest Division playoffs on Friday night.
It was the first game-winning kick in the history of Nipomo football.
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Defense Steps Up Again: The Nipomo defense has been strong all season, and Friday night was no different. J.J. Ramirez, who started at free safety for the first time all season after an injury to Isaac Bausley, made a big impact in the secondary and scored on a 40-yard fumble recovery in the third quarter to put Nipomo up 14-7. Clemente Ramiscal, who Nipomo coach Tony Dodge called his “MVP of the Night” thwarted a potential go-ahead drive by Twentynine Palms with an interception in Nipomo territory. Ramiscal, along with about four other Titans, swarmed to stop Twentynine Palms on fourth-and-3 with just over a minute to go to set up the game-winning drive.
Final Drive: After the turnover on downs, Nipomo got the ball back on its own 40-yard line with about a minute to go. Nipomo quarterback Gavin Hall was sacked on the first play for a 7-yard loss. The second pass went for 8-yards to Jimmy Pineo, setting up a third and long.
Hall picked a great time to throw his best pass of the night, and hit Lukas Kolesar down the sideline for 31 yards to get the ball to the 25-yard line. After a short screen and a spike, Eguiluz did the rest.
Navarro Runs Wild: Coming into Friday night, running back Antonio Navarro had one fumble in his high school playing career. Against Twentynine Palms, he had two. But Navarro kept running strong and helped Nipomo control the ball and the clock all night. He finished with 27 carries for 105 yards.
What’s Next? By virtue of a coinflip, Nipomo will again play host in the semifinals. The Titans will host Linfield Christian from Temecula, and the game will be played next Saturday at 6 p.m.