IMPERIAL, Calif. Royce Freeman, the San Diego Section’s most prolific running back in history, rushed for 218 yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries, and quarterback Chris Carter added 200 rushing yards and two TDs as No. 3-seeded Imperial (11-0) overcame a two-touchdown deficit in the second half to rally for a 49-42 victory over No. 6 El Capitan (10-2) on Thursday.
Imperial totaled 578 yards to advance to the Division II semifinals against No. 2 St. Augustine next week.
Trailing 35-21, Imperial owned the third quarter to tie it up at 35 as Carter ran for a 39-yard TD and Freeman for a 56-yard score.
With 5:52 left, on fourth-and-3 from the 13-yard line, Freeman gave the Tigers their first lead, breaking tackles and bulling into the end zone.
Carlos Villanueva, on his birthday, rushed for a 39-yard TD to make it 49-35.
El Capitan had 454 yards as Brad Cagle was 15 of 30 for 296 yards and three TDs.
A crazy first half produced 595 yards, with El Cap gaining 374 and taking a 35-21 halftime lead. The Vaqueros scored on all five possessions, with Cagle completing his final 11 passes to go 14 of 16 for 232 yards and two TDs. Isaiah Capoocia rushed for two TDs and had 75 yards — the same as Freeman, who scored only once.