SANTEE Twice, West Hills punted, providing Scripps Ranch opportunities to narrow the two-score deficit between them heading into halftime.
But twice, Scripps Ranch delivered the ball right back — one on downs, the other on a muffed return that the Wolf Pack pounced upon.
“We did everything wrong that drive. I think it was fourth-and-40 or something,” said West Hills coach Tay Sneddon. “Our punter kicks the ball rugby style, it happens to take a weird, wacky bounce and it just bounced off the kid.”
Granted new life, West Hills quarterback Stephen Schindler punched in the 1-yard touchdown, increasing the lead to 17.
“That was pretty deflating,” Sneddon said.
“Down by 10, they had a chance to make this a ballgame.”
From there, West Hills milked the clock with its ground game, defeating the No. 10-seeded Falcons 31-17 on Friday.
The seventh-seeded Wolf Pack (8-3) advances to the Division II quarterfinals Thursday, traveling to Mesa College to battle second-seeded St. Augustine (8-2).
“The defense made some tremendous stands tonight that allowed us to stick to our game plan and run the offense that we practiced all week,” said kicker Dave McManus, who broke the San Diego Section mark for consecutive made FGs with 10.