On the winning drive, the Pointers converted two third-downs and one fourth-down play to keep the drive alive.
The victory, in which they never trailed, was sealed when the Wildcats, desperately trying to answer the final Pointer score, saw their quarterback sacked before a pass attempt was tipped into the air and intercepted by defensive end Patrick Rutledge with 14 seconds remaining. Rutledge smartly dropped to the turf to protect the ball, allowing his offense to take a knee as time expired.
The Pointers now move on to the Div. I quarterfinals against No. 2 seed St. Augustine, a team that whipped the Pointers 45-15 on Nov. 4 in an afternoon contest on Bennie Edens Field. In that game, the Pointers endured a nightmare third quarter when the Saints scored 28 points off several turnovers that plagued the hosts.
The Pointers were also looking to eliminate turnovers in their playoff game against the Wildcats. When the teams first met in August, the Pointers turned the ball over five times. In this playoff game, their success (El Camino committed four, the Pointers one) was a clear factor in building a 28-7 halftime lead.
An early pass interception by defensive back Michael Blakely followed the Wildcats' opening drive of the game that consumed over half of the first quarter. Blakely had a long runback to set up the Pointers at the El Camino 44-yard line. On their first offensive play, Josh Ball ran 44 yards to the touchdown for a 7-0 lead.
The Pointers put together a drive in the second quarter that ended with a three-yard scoring pass from quarterback Kyle Grady to Faa'lele, it was defensive lineman Arthur Daniels who picked up a loose ball after a strip sack by a teammate and outran Wildcat defenders for a 27-yard score that built the lead to 21-7.
The Pointers struck again in the final minute of the first half, wide receiver Malik Moore taking a handoff before sprinting around the left side from 10 yards out for the score. It was set up by a long Antonio Quintanilla run in which he broke free and was caught just short of the end zone.
It would be completely understandable if Pointer fans experienced flashbacks during the third quarter as the Wildcats came roaring back with 21 unanswered points of their own to leave the teams ties at 28 entering the final frame.
On their first possession of the fourth quarter, Point Loma again put together a successful drive, Quintanilla scoring on a 15-yard run in which he rolled over several tacklers near the goal line and into the end zone.
But that lead lasted only seconds as the Wildcats, on the first play after the Pointer kickoff, tossed a complete pass in the left flat which they turned into an 80-yard scoring play that benefitted from several missed tackles.
This knotted the score at 35 before the Pointers put together their decisive game-winning drive.
For the game, Quintanilla picked up 128 rushing yards on 13 carries, while Ball added 106 yards on 15 carries.
The game was heavily scouted by the Saints, who earned a first-round bye.
The Pointers again were hurt by the pass, the Wildcats totaling 333 yards and three touchdowns.
The Pointer roster shows 15 seniors whose prep career will end with this season's playoffs.