For the second time in three years, the Sutter Huskies broke the hearts of the Paradise High School Bobcats.
This time, the Huskies beat the Bobcats 34-31 in overtime to claim the Division III Northern Section Championship and a state playoff berth. Two years ago, the Bobcats lost to Sutter 20-7 at River Valley High.
On Saturday night Paradise quickly made it known that its offense would be far more effective.
But it wasn’t just the Bobcats offense that made its impact in the D-III NSCIF championship game, the defense collected three turnovers including two first-half interceptions, one of them that set up Paradise’s third score of the game.
The Bobcats scored on their very first drive, thanks in part to a fourth-down conversion on their own part of the field on the opening drive.
Daquan Simmons-Bush picked up three yards on a fourth and one play from the bobcats 39 yard line.
On the very next play, Tyler Harrison broke off of a 58-yard run through the right side of the Sutter Huskies defense and scampered the rest of the way for a 7-0 Paradise lead.
That lead didn’t last long. On Sutter’s next possession Dylan Hughes broke off a 67-yard run to knot the game at 7.
Paradise was forced to punt on its next possession, and three plays later Sutter took the lead.
Huskies’ quarterback Trevor Eck hit Landon Sable on a 48-yard pass and run. Sable caught the ball on a crossing pattern and broke up the Bobcat sideline picking up a key block on his way to the end zone.
That gave Sutter a 14-7 lead, but Paradise would score on the next drive.
Paradise drove 80 yards in 11 plays, with the big play being a 29-yard catch by Harrison from Braden Gonzales.
Gonzales rolled right and looked like he was going to run but he simply flipped the ball to Harrison, who turned upfield breaking a couple of tackles before being brought down at the Sutter 9 yard line.
One play later, Gonzales scored on a 9 yard run on a sweep play.
Paradise’s first forced turnover of the game came on the next drive when Brady Bettencourt intercepted Eck and returned it 33 yards to set up Paradise’s third touchdown of the half.
From there the Bobcats turned in a 40-yard drive that ended in a 2-yard scoring run by Simmons-Bush.
Paradise went into intermission with a 21-14 lead and had the ball to open the second half with an opportunity to extend the lead.
The Bobcats turned it over on a fumble near midfield and Sutter was able to turn the turnover into a 10-yard touchdown run by Nic Fisher tying the score at 21.
The two teams would trade field goals and would enter the final quarter tied at 24.
With less than three minutes ago the Bobcats seem to get the break that would lead them to the first state appearance.
A bad snap got by Eck and Paradise recovered at the 16 yard line.
Harrison scored from 15 yards out to give Paradise a 31-24 lead with two minutes to go. Following Harrison‘s touchdown run to take the lead, the Huskies put together a drive with less than two minutes to go and scored with six seconds to go on an Eck 1 yard plunge.
Sutter scored first in overtime on a 27-yard field goal by Leighton Tarke. Sutter sealed the game with an interception at the goal line when Paradise had its turn in overtime.
Sutter will now prepare for state playoffs beginning next weekend. Seedings will be announced following a meeting Sunday afternoon.