In a clash of impressive Desert Region defenses, Foothill emerged victorious.
The Falcons intercepted three passes, had five sacks and held Durango to 90 yards to win a playoff game for the third straight season. Their 30-13 win at home Friday over the Trailblazers moves them into the Desert Region semifinals.
Foothill (10-1) will visit Bishop Gorman on Nov. 16.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We knew they were going to come out and battle us,” Foothill coach Marty Redmond said. “(Our defense has) been doing a great job of lining up right and stopping the run and it makes it tough for teams.”
Foothill had only one bad play on defense, a 63-yard touchdown run by Durango running back Tau Fotu that put the Trailblazers (5-6) ahead 13-9 with 10:55 left in the third quarter. The Falcons, who have given up just 12.3 points per game this season, allowed a total of 27 yards on Durango’s other 36 plays.
“You can’t say anything bad about them having one bad play,” Redmond said. “It was just a bust, and they did a great job of responding after that.”
Foothill’s defensive effort gave its offense plenty of time to make adjustments against a Trailblazers defense that allowed an average of 11.8 points in its first eight games. The Falcons only scored nine points in the first half but decided to play faster in the second half.
After Fotu’s TD run gave Durango the lead, Foothill scored three TDs in a span of 8:19 to pull away by the beginning of the fourth quarter.
“We did a good job of tempoing it in the second half. We tired them out a little bit,” Redmond said. “Once we were able to start tiring them out we were able to run the ball, and that really made a big difference.”
Foothill quarterback Koy Riggin threw for 260 yards and three TDs. He did throw just his second interception of the season in the first quarter, and Trailblazers’ linebacker Frankie Pelton returned it for a TD.
The mistake gave Durango an early 7-6 lead but Foothill’s defense made sure it became just a footnote on a night that finished with fans chanting “We want Gorman” from the stands.
“For (our defense) just to step up and make a few stops (after the interception), I thought it was great for them,” Redmond said.