Foothill quarterback Parker Riggin got his bell rung plenty by Silverado’s defense, as the Skyhawks piled up six sacks Friday night.
But in the end, Riggin and his teammates were ringing the Victory Bell — literally — after Riggin tossed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Connor Waitkus with 6:40 left in the game to lift fifth-ranked Foothill to the 13-7 road victory.
The win gave the undefeated Falcons (7-0, 3-0 Southeast) possession of the Victory Bell, the rivalry trophy Foothill lost to Silverado last season.
“It feels great to get the bell back after losing it last year,” said Riggin, who connected on 20-of-34 passes for 221 yards in the game.
The fate of the bell appeared in doubt after Silverado quarterback Savon Moniz connected with Ladale Jackson on a 63-yard touchdown pass with 8:16 left in the third quarter to tie the game at 7-7.
Foothill then drove to the 10-yard line midway through the fourth quarter, but Riggin was sacked by Kusitafu Otuafi for a 10-yard loss moments before tossing an incomplete pass.
On third down, the Falcon signal caller saw his receiver covered in the end zone as the pocket collapsed around him, and he bolted for the left sideline.
Just before he was sacked for the seventh time, Riggin lofted the ball towards the left side of the end zone. Waitkus made a circus catch at the sideline, and tapped his toes as he fell out of bounds.
“We had a deep pass called but they had it well covered,” Riggin said. “I just had to get out of the pocket, and (Waitkus) made a great play.”
Waitkus said he had no doubts about making the catch.
“Parker was able to make a great play scrambling and I was able to catch the ball in the end zone.” Waitkus said. “I knew I was going to catch it. It’s the same thing we do in practice every day; foot control, body control, every day.”
Foothill took the lead, but the Falcons missed the extra point, giving Silverado (3-3, 1-2) a chance to take the lead on the ensuing drive.
The Skyhawks marched from their own 24 to the Foothill 5-yard line in seven plays to set up first-and-goal.
But after holding Silverado to 1 rushing yard on two plays, the Foothill defense came up with a sack on third down for a 21-yard loss.
On fourth down, the Foothill defense pressured Moniz to toss the ball out of the back of the end zone, and the Falcons took over with 1:22 left in the game.
“They are the best team we played all year,” Riggin said. “But we fought them hard and came away with the win.”
Izaiah Thurmon led Silverado with 112 yards rushing on 18 carries.
Seth Bohman, Bennie Harris and Otuafi had two sacks each for the Skyhawks defense.
Miles Killebrew, starting in place of injured leading rusher Connor Afoa, led Foothill with 67-yards rushing, including a 1-yard TD run on the game’s opening drive, and 73 receiving yards.
Foothill dominated the first half’s posession, outgaining the Skyhawks 139-42 but only led 7-0 at halftime.
“(SIlverado’s) defense played great,” said Riggin, whose offense came in averaging 44 points per game. “They were running stunts all day. We made some adjustments at halftime and just got it going and scored a touchdown there at the end to win it.”
And, though the win kept the Falcons perfect record in tact, Waitkus said there was a bigger victory on the night.
“The Victory Bell. Definitely getting the bell,” Waitkus said. “Being undefeated feels great, too. But winning a rivalry game always feels good.”