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TCA is imperfect, but still unbeaten after 20-15 win over Discovery Canyon
Titans down Thunder in unbeatens battle
Jantzen Ryals and TCA overcame an imperfect performance and kept their perfect record intact.
Ryals threw three touchdown passes and the host Titans weren’t derailed by five turnovers as they handed rival Discovery Canyon its first loss in a 20-15 thriller on Friday night.
“Mistakes are a great opportunity to get better,” TCA coach David Bervig said after a game that was marred by miscues on both sides. “I told my quarterback, ‘You’re going to walk on the field now a better quarterback in the third quarter than you were in the second quarter.’”
That’s what Ryals did.
He threw no interceptions in the second half after throwing three in the first two quarters and his 7-yard touchdown pass to Alex Willis with 6:09 remaining proved to be the difference.
“After the pains of last year and losing to them, we took this game personally and we did our best,” said Ryals, who threw for 183 yards and also added two scoring passes to Joey Trese.
While TCA (5-0) largely corrected its mistakes in the second half — turning the ball over just once on a snap in the shotgun formation — Discovery Canyon (5-1) couldn’t quite get on track.
The Thunder lost a fumble in TCA territory in the fourth quarter, then jumped offsides with less than 3 minutes remaining to give TCA a key first down and allow it to run out the clock.
Even Discovery Canyon’s final score came after a mistake, as a bad snap on a field-goal attempt left kicker Mitchell Carter scrambling. Carter completed a short pass to Quincy Campbell and he put together a remarkable run for a 15-yard score with 3:56 remaining that put the large crowd on edge for the finish.
“We shot ourselves in the foot too many times,” Discovery Canyon coach Shawn Mitchell said. “I don’t want to take anything away from TCA, they played a great game.”
The benefit of scheduling such a key nonleague game was that the teams have both seen a charged atmosphere unlike any they had seen to this point, so they’ll be better prepared the next time they encounter it.
And make no mistake, this was a key game. The schools are located just a few miles apart, both teams entered 4-0 and players and fans from both sides included many next-door neighbors.
“We knew it was going to be a fun atmosphere and it was,” Bervig said. “It kind of feels like we’re a small town, because it’s a community.”
“I feel like it is a budding rivalry, but right now it’s heavily in TCA’s favor,” Mitchell added.
Mistakes and turnovers aside, the game was ultracompetitive. Ryals overcame a slow start that included a fumble and two first-quarter interceptions to hit Trese for a 75-yard touchdown that he called a “huge confidence booster.”
A few minutes later Trese caught a 24-yard strike from Ryals for another score.
But Discovery Canyon never wavered from its ground-based offense and climbed right back into it.
The Thunder ran for 255 yards, led by Cameron Packwood’s 180 on 22 carries.
Alec Wirtjes kept Discovery Canyon from being entirely one-dimensional with 100 passing yards, completing 10-of-17 attempts.
“It just sucks because if we could have come together in that first half we could have taken this game,” Packwood said.
HELP IS COMING
TCA's defense will get a huge boost when injured linebacker Justin Miller, a Division I recruit, returns from a high ankle sprain suffered two weeks ago.
Miller wanted to play Friday, but coach David Bervig opted to let him rehab a bit longer. In his place, defensive lineman Josh Dillon dropped to a middle linebacker spot and helped contain Discovery Canyon in a 20-15 victory on Friday.