Pointers show they're back despite heartbreaking loss in opener
Published - 08/25/21 - 07:40 AM | 2381 views | 4 4 comments | 53 53 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tight end Cayden Nantkes leaps above a Ramona defender to grab a touchdown pass from QB Jackson Emerson during the Pointers' season opening game last week. SCOTT HOPKINS/PENINSULA BEACON
Tight end Cayden Nantkes leaps above a Ramona defender to grab a touchdown pass from QB Jackson Emerson during the Pointers' season opening game last week. SCOTT HOPKINS/PENINSULA BEACON
Any doubts that Point Loma football is back were dispelled last Friday night as the Pointers put on a gutty two-way performance that had higher-ranked Ramona on the ropes before a call by a game official gave the Bulldogs a final last-minute chance to score and defeat the Pointers in a 19-14 heartbreaker.

The Pointers were holding a 14-12 lead in the fourth quarter and had a chance to put the game away as they marched towards the goal line after a Ramona punt gave them the ball at the Bulldogs 42-yard line. But after two big gains on running plays, the ball was knocked loose from a Pointer runner and the Bulldogs recovered.

The Bulldogs went to the air, and it appeared the Pointers still were in command when senior Mauro Garcia snared an interception at the Pointer three-yard-line to blunt a Bulldog drive. Again, two nice runs took the Pointers out of danger but once again a fumble was recovered by Ramona.

With Ramona still passing on every play as the game's final minutes ticked away, a Pointer defender made a beautiful play in the corner of the end zone to bat away a Bulldog pass as cheers erupted.

But a game official 80 feet away launched a yellow penalty flag. Pass interference was called on the Pointer defender making Pointer coaches livid, as it appeared there was no illegal contact on the play, one that, in effect, resulted in handing the game to the Bulldogs.

With new life, Ramona ran the ball in for the final score and a 19-14 victory, two of their touchdowns coming in the final seconds of each half.

"We gave them everything they could handle," a disappointed but upbeat Pointer head coach Joel Allen said on the sidelines moments after praising his distraught players. "We put a couple of balls on the ground and some calls didn't go our way, but I am so proud of these kids. We fought to the very end."

Going into the game the Bulldogs were ranked No. 14 in the San Diego CIF section, the Pointers No. 38.

The Pointers drew first blood in the opening quarter when junior QB Jackson Emerson completed an 11-yard scoring pass to senior Mauro Garcia. A booming PAT kick by sophomore Aaron Lee gave the Dogs a 7-0 lead.

After an apparent Bulldog TD was called back in the second quarter they finally scored with 12 seconds left before intermission. Ramona scored again on its first possession of the third quarter to take a 12-7 lead.

The second Pointer score came on their next drive. Emerson connected with senior Kayden Nantkes in the end zone, with Lee's PAT giving Point Loma a 14-12 lead that lasted until the tumultuous fourth quarter.

Junior running back Noah Turbeville had a big night with multiple carries of 10 yards or more.

The Pointers next face off against Central High of El Centro in a home game to be played at Mission Bay High on Friday, Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. The Spartans, ranked No. 25 in San Diego, lost their opener 33-14 to Mt. Carmel last week. 

Then on Sept. 3, the Pointers trot to La Jolla for a resumption of the famed battle for "The Shoe," a trophy that went to the winner of the annual battle between the teams. The Vikings are enjoying great success, taking the Pointers' place in the top-ranked Western League and moving up to the No. 6 position in San Diego rankings and No. 1 in the Pointers' Div. II. The Vikings opened with a 42-13 win over nearby Bishop's.



The game, played at Clairemont High, was poorly conducted. The scoreboard did not work, leaving the questionable keeping of game time to the on-field officials. 

With no recording of the national anthem available, public address announcer and PLHS art teacher Sean Wells bravely performed a "memorable" solo version of the difficult song, complete with Beach Boys-like falsettos, to the enjoyment of players, coaches and fans.
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