Updated: Sep 1
Daryl Bogard, UNI Football Boosters
Game Date: August 25, 2023 7:00PM PST | Photography by: Sandrine Scherson
In a very even three-hour plus game with seven lead changes, Portola survived via a blocked PAT kick in double overtime to escape with a 35-34 win at University, Fri, Aug 25.
Down 7-0 in the first quarter, Uni’s Koa Saito hit Brooks Beckmann with a pass that ended in a 75-yard scoring play with Beckmann breaking at least three tackles and using his breakaway speed to outrun his defenders into the end zone.
In the second quarter after Portola QB Rocky Palacio scored his second rushing TD, the Trojans went on a 79-yard drive culminating in another Saito to Beckmann strike, this time for 16 yards. Uni trailed 14-13 at half.
The Trojan Marching Band performed for the first time this year playing the National Anthem before the game and doing a halftime performance.
Portola struck quickly one play after a mishandled punt midway through the third quarter scoring on a 33-yard pass to go up 21-13.
Uni countered with a 65-yard drive capped with a 25-yard TD pass from Saito to Blaine Anderson. The duo tied the game with a tricky shuttle pass for a two-point convert.
Uni looked like they would go ahead via a 36-yard Skye Murphy field goal with 4:11 left in regulation. The successful kick was negated as Portola called a timeout just before the kick. The subsequent kick was unfortunately blocked leaving the game tied at 21. Late in the fourth quarter, Mohammed Oonwala intercepted a Portola pass returning it 27 yards.
In overtime, each team got the ball on the opposition’s 25-yard line. Uni scored first on another Saito to Anderson scoring strike. Skye Murphy banked in the XP to put Uni up for the first time, 28-21. Uni had Portola on the ropes with the Bulldogs facing a fourth and 19 situation. Palacio found a receiver on a 20-yard pass play putting the ball first and goal at the Uni 3-yard line. Portola followed with a 3-yard Marcus Sung TD run to knot the score at 28.
Portola got the ball first in double overtime and went ahead on Palacio’s second major score in the air. Uni countered with two Jai Williams runs, the second one going for an 18-yard score bringing Uni to within one. Unfortunately, the PAT kick was blocked resulting in a heartbreaking loss for Uni.
Uni amassed 363 yards from the line of scrimmage while Portola accounted for 336. Each team had 20 first downs with Uni getting six on the ground, nine in the air and five via penalty.
Uni’s Koa Saito threw for 264 yards and four touchdowns, two each to Brooks Beckmann and Blaine Anderson. Portola’s Rocky Palacio passed for 207 yards and accounted for four TDs (two on the ground and two in the air). Saito completed 17 of 29 passes with no picks.
Beckmann caught five passes for 155 yards. Anderson had nine receptions for 89 yards. Asger Ross had two catches for 16 yards and Lucca Clouthier had one for four yards.
The Trojans had 99 yards on the ground. Jai Williams carried the ball 17 times for 86 yards. Damari Carter ran the ball six times for 15 yards.
On defense Eithar Takesh and Williams each participated in 10 tackles, of which three by each were behind the line of scrimmage. Richard Bines had eight tackles and an emphatic sack. Beckmann had seven tackles. Damari Carter and Ross each had five tackles while Carter had two pass break ups and stopped a fake punt. Ryan Shabbak had four tackles, was part of two sacks and forced a fumble. Luke Edwards had three tackles and two pass break ups.
Andrew Bogard returned to action at punter averaging 38.3 yards on three kicks, putting two inside the opposition’s 20-yard line.
Uni hosts Los Amigos on Fri, Sep 1.