Normally, the offense gets all the glory on a football team.
Not this week at San Marcos High. The defensive players will be kings all week.
The unit made a stand in the final minutes to preserve a 3-0 victory over undersized Santa Fe Christian in the San Diego Section Division III quarterfinals at Torrey Pines High.
By pulling out a win over the No. 4-seeded Eagles (6-5), the No. 5 Knights (8-4) advanced to next Friday’s semifinals against Granite Hills.
Santa Fe Christian cornerback Drew Shields intercepted a James Harwell pass at the Eagles’ 2-yard line and returned it 85 yards to the San Marcos 13 with 3 minutes, 39 seconds to play.
What made the interception an even bigger play was that the Knights passed up a 22-yard field goal attempt for a fourth-and-goal pass near the goal line.
“As he was running in front of our bench,’’ San Marcos coach Jason Texler said, “I was thinking I should have kicked the field goal.’’
But the San Marcos defense gave up a yard on first down, forced an incompletion by quarterback Jerry Harper, and then sacked Harper for a 9-yard loss to the San Marcos 36.
Following a Knights’ offside penalty, Shields’ 48-yard field goal to tie the game missed wide left.
“As an offensive player, I can say that was ugly,’’ said Knights receiver Isiah Hennie, whose 51-yard run on the final drive wiped out any lingering hopes of a Santa Fe Christian rally. “From a defensive standpoint, it was a great game.
“All I know is we get to play another week and we owe the defense a free lunch or something this week.’’
All San Marcos could manage with its passing attack and size advantage was a 3-0 lead on Harwell’s 26-yard first-quarter field goal.
The Knights mustered just 62 rushing yards and 65 passing yards in the first half as the smaller Eagles defense kept them out of the end zone.