Physical Salesian wears down the Cats in D-7 decider

The Wildcats fell short in their bid for a North Coast Section football championship on Saturday night, falling 50-29 to No. 1 seed Salesian in the Division-7 decider at Alhambra High School.

The game was tied 21-21 at halftime, but a big, physical Pride team wore down the No. 2 seeds in the second half, gradually pulling away.

The Cats scored three first-half touchdowns to keep pace early, and went into the interval on level pegging thanks to a big defensive stand at the goal line to close out the second quarter.

The two teams combined for three touchdowns in a 28-second spell midway through the first quarter.

After the Pride capped an impressive opening drive with a short TD run, the Cats answered immediately on a long Lane Branstetter scoring run.

The top seeds, however, regained the momentum on the following play, returning the ensuing kickoff to open up a 14-7 lead.

The Wildcats took advantage of a couple of big turnovers in the second quarter, both deep in Salesian territory and both resulting in short TD runs.

Quarterback Jenner Christiansen and Landon Gomes each found the end zone, the latter coming after an impressive Banstetter interception.

The second half, however, belonged to the higher seeds, who drove the ball effectively throughout.

The loss ends an impressive season for the Cats, who close out 10-3.

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