APTOS — “That was the most physical game since I’ve been here,” Blankenship said. “That was the best football game I’ve been a part of in my time here.”
But after all the smoke and physicality cleared it came down to the precision of one player, and she came through.
Aptos fell just short of beating the Encinal Jets for the second year as a final go-ahead kick from Emily Rentschler connected for the 13-10 win.
The 5-foot-3-inch 115 pound senior led the Jets on the night with seven of their points after connecting on two field goals, including the game-winner, and an extra point attempt.
Renstschler is in her second year on the varsity squad as a kicker and has been on the varsity soccer team since her freshman season.
Rentschler’s heroics were set up by a small screen pass that turned into a big gain and got the ball down to the 3-yard line with 7.7 seconds left.
She was able to connect on the 20-yard field goal that gave the Jets the late lead and sent the small crowd of Jets fans into a frenzy.
“Those two plays were big,” said Jets head coach Joe Tenorio of the screen and kick. “Those we’re huge. They’re both things that we practice a lot, so it’s good to see them hit when it matters.”
The Mariners were left thinking what could’ve been after committing three turnovers on the night, with one of them coming while they were inside the 10-yard line.
“Those three turnovers,” Blankenship said. “You can’t do it. You lose football games. That’s just it. I thought our kids fought. I thought their kids fought. I hate losing, but I sure enjoyed that game.”
Early it was all Aptos.
The Mariners were able to get out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, but by the end of the half the game was knotted at 10.
The Mariners defense came up big during the scoreless second half, when they turned the ball over twice within their own 20.
None bigger than on a fourth and four play inside the 15 with just more than seven minutes to play.
The Mariners were able to deny a power run off the left side of the line to keep the Jets off the board and keep themselves in the game.
However, the Mariners were not able to muster up anything offensively and the Mariners’ stout defense finally cracked if just in the slightest.
“I think that we played well, but I don’t think we played up to our expectations,” said Mariners quarterback Alex Joh. “With all the fumbles and the turnovers. We’re going to work hard next week and we’re going to get better.”
The Mariners will face the Seaside Spartans at home next Friday at 7:30 p.m.
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