Lincoln wins nail-biter, Mission rolls in city semifinals 

click to enlarge Mission’s Bran’Den Rodriguez, center, stiff-arms a Balboa defender during Thursday’s game. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • Mission’s Bran’Den Rodriguez, center, stiff-arms a Balboa defender during Thursday’s game.
In a first half when he was faced with a soggy field, Lincoln senior running back Jacquez Williams-Chish struggled to find his footing.

His cleat studs kept catching in the churned-up turf. A dead leg, the result of a knee from a Galileo football player to his upper right thigh just two minutes into the second quarter, kept him out until halftime.

But after mustering just 12 rushes for 29 yards with a fumble in that first half, Williams-Chish reeled off two long rushing touchdowns, one in each of the final two quarters, to key a 13-0 home win for the Mustangs and a spot in next Thursday’s Turkey Bowl. Two-time defending champion Lincoln will face Mission for the San Francisco Section title.

“We practiced all summer for this,” Williams-Chish said. “We got this win, and that’s all that matters. I’m proud of my team.” With just under five minutes left in the third quarter, Galileo senior Rodney Morgan, penned in on his own 5-yard line, scuffed a punt that traveled just past the Galileo 20.

Williams-Chish pounced on the field position, bursting through a hole on the right side of the offensive line for a 20-yard touchdown run. On the final play of the game, Williams-Chish danced left before surging right and churning 51 yards to paydirt as time expired.

“That was a great high school football game,” said Lincoln coach Phil Ferrigno, whose team overcame five penalties and three turnovers in the first half. “It wasn’t the greatest-looking thing, but both teams played real hard. We talk a lot about ‘the team’ and ‘the team’ won today.”

Galileo coach Mark Huynh, whose Lions surged to the No. 3 playoff seed after losing six of seven games to start the season, credited his players with another resilient performance. “Everything we asked [our team] to do today, they did,” Huynh said. “We attacked better defensively, we executed on offense, we forced turnovers. They really stepped up.”

Lincoln held Morgan, perhaps Galileo’s best playmaker, in check. Lions senior quarterback Phillip Tran, coming off a four-touchdown performance against Burton last weekend, tried several times to find Morgan on deep routes, but other than a 19-yard completion on the Lions’ first possession in the third quarter, the tandem struggled to connect.

“Our defense has been really stout all year,” Ferrigno said. “We held a team to zero, and they didn’t have many drives.” After Williams-Chish’s third-quarter touchdown, Lincoln stuck with its star. In the fourth quarter alone, Williams-Chish rushed 15 times for 86 yards, including that breakaway scamper in the final seconds.

MISSION 45, BALBOA 6

Frank Hall just can’t stop scoring for Mission. Less than a week after the junior star scored five touchdowns — all on special teams — in a 54-14 win over Washington, Hall added three more in the Bears’ comprehensive victory over Balboa in a San Francisco Section semifinal.

This time, two of Hall’s touchdowns came on offense — one a reception, the other a rush — but Mission coach Joe Albano credited Hall’s pick-6, just 10 seconds until halftime, with stopping a promising Buccaneers drive.

“That got us over the hump,” Albano said. “We went into the half up 24-0. Balboa is a good team, with a lot of talent, so to beat them the way we did was pretty good.”

Looking ahead to next week’s championship game, Albano knows he’ll get Lincoln’s best shot.

“We haven’t faced them in a long time,” Albano said. “So, we’ll see. This is Ferrigno’s third straight year taking them to the championship game.”

San Francisco Section playoffs

Thursday’s Semifinals Mission 45, Balboa 6 Lincoln 13, Galileo 0

Turkey Bowl Thanksgiving Day Mission vs. Lincoln at Lowell, 11 a.m.

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Matthew Snyder

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