The Pointers met St. Augustine in a football game that saw the two teams combine for 87 points, more than 1,000 yards of total offense and many long plays as the Saints roared to a 53-34 victory before a surprisingly small crowd of Pointer fans who made the trip to Mesa College.
Both teams now have 3-3 records.
When Pointer quarterback Kyle Grady drove up the middle for a dramatic touchdown on a fourth down play with just 2.4 seconds left in the first half, the teams went to halftime tied at 21 after the Saints had taken an early 14-0 lead just minutes into the game. The spirited comeback by the Pointers had fans anticipating a second-half nail-biter.
But a relentless Saints offense combined with a Pointer defense that lost several key players to injuries from a 35-player roster, allowed the hosts to add five more touchdowns against a Pointer pair to outscore the Dogs 32-13 over the last two quarters of play.
"The kids played really hard tonight," head coach Mike Hastings said. "At the end of the half, start of the third quarter, we started losing some guys. Defensively, we need to get better up front, they hurt us with some long runs."
Among those who missed part of the game was senior offensive lineman Josh Fierro, who ran off the field, collapsing in pain on the sidelines.
"My arm got caught underneath my body when I was sliding and my shoulder popped out," Fierro said after the game. "The trainers helped me out and I'm very appreciative and grateful for them."
Josh Ball's four-yard run kept the Pointers even at 27 in the third period before the Saints victimized Pointer defenders by scoring on a 65-yard run and a 24-yard pass to widen the gap to 41-27 after three periods.
Brian Yepez's five-yard run early in the fourth quarter brought the Pointers back within seven at 41-34, but the Saints answered with scoring passes of 27 and 46 yards to widen the margin of victory.
For the Pointer faithful, the game represented a big improvement over last year, when the Saints defeated the Dogs twice in a three-week period by a combined score of 90-22.
Several players stood out in last week's match, including Grady, who likely had the best game of his prep career.
Grady completed 18 of 31 pass attempts for 276 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran 14 times for 85 yards and another touchdown, giving him 361 yards in total offense for the game. His passes included long downfield lobs (longest of 46 yards) and some laser-like throws he completed over the middle.
"Kyle made great decisions throwing and running the ball," Hastings said. "I was proud of him."
Grady's favorite target was Malik Moore, who caught six balls for 173 yards, a remarkable 28.8 yards per catch. Moore had one touchdown catch that tied the game at 14 early in the second quarter.
The Pointers were held to 170 yards on the ground, about half their normal total. Besides Grady, other totals included Ball (12 carries for 30 yards) and Moore and Yepez (27 yards each).
As a team, the Pointers gained 444 yards on 72 plays, an average of 6.2 yards per play.
Statistics supplied by the Saints indicated 222 yards passing and 378 rushing on 51 plays, an average of 11.8 yards per play.
Multiple tackles were credited to Pointers Jake Silva (5), Mathew Fa'alele (4), Moore (3) and Camden Koolen (2). JL Skinner and Cameron Auva'a each intercepted a Saints pass attempt.
"We came out with the mindset that we were going to tear it up, and we did," Fierro said. "Next time we just have to work a little harder."
Next up for the Pointers is their popular Homecoming game, the first under new permanent lighting. The opponent is league foe Mira Mesa, a team that has improved greatly from last year's 1-9 team. The Marauders are currently 5-1 and averaging 36 points per win. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m.
"Our kids are resilient," Hastings said, "and we'll be ready."
The Pointer JV team (2-4) had a narrow loss to the Saints, while the freshman team remains unbeaten (6-0) after whipping the Saints 36-14.
Alumni planning on attending the Homecoming game should know senior citizens are admitted free to all PLHS athletic events, except for CIF playoff games. The Voltaire Street gate will be locked and fans must enter from the campus.
The first progress report for students will be issued Oct. 13, and any of the 800 student-athletes at PLHS and throughout the district who fail to meet standards will become ineligible immediately. Each must maintain a 2.0 grade point average in academics and citizenship with no more than one "F" grade.