Welker hits Foss for game-winning TD to beat Bishop

At 5-foot-9 and 145 pounds, Zach Foss seemed an unlikely candidate to pick an entire football team up on his shoulders. But that’s what it took and that’s what Foss did Friday night to carry Santa Ynez High to a 23-22 comeback win over visiting Bishop Diego in the season opener for both teams at Santa  Ynez

Foss re-energized a somewhat stunned Pirates team with a weaving, tackle-busting kickoff return of 50 yards and then scored the winning touchdown on a 16-yard pass from Ryan Welker with 23 seconds remaining as Santa Ynez overcame two TD passes from Cardinal quarterback Nolan Tisdale in the final three minutes. The second TD was a 40-yard bomb that dropped softly into the arms of Anthony Carter with just 1:01 remaining. Tisdale connected with Nolan Tooley for a 2-point PAT that looked as if it might provide the capper on a thrilling 22-16 comeback win for Bishop.

“Our guys were down on the sidelines after that (score),’’ admitted Santa Ynez coach Ken Gruendyke. “Zach just brought the entire team up with that (kickoff return). Our whole huddle was pumped up after that.”

Foss’ return took the ball to the Bishop 47 and Welker hit Devin Shaw with a 31-yard pass on the next play before scrambling to his right, eluding a rusher and finding Foss at the back of the end zone to tie the game.

“It was actually a broken play,” said Foss, who was the primary target. “I ran into my tight end and then I saw an opening and Ryan was able to find me.”

Even with Foss’ late-game heroics, it still took a clean PAT kick by Marcos Uribe — no gimme since he had missed two field goals earlier in the half — and some serious nail-biting by the Pirates as the Cardinals tried to uncork their own brand of magic in the final seconds following a 40-yard kickoff return to the Santa Ynez 39 by Brandon Gonzalez. Two incomplete passes were followed by a Tisdale pass that spiraled into the end zone and — for a brief instant — into a receivers’ hands before a pair of Pirates knocked it loose.

“Kudos to Bishop Diego,” said Gruendyke. “That’s a good offensive football team. When they got that kickoff there . . . we didn’t know what their kicker could do but, if they had a time out there, well, you never know.”

All in all, it made for a fitting result for a pair of teams ranked highly in different CIF divisions. There were plenty of big plays and moments to be proud of, and also several that will make coaches cringe during film review. Gonzalez ran for 103 yard, almost all of it in the second half, with a series of slashing runs, while Tisdale completed 13 passes for 176 yards. But Bishop also fumbled five times and lost three while committing 11 penalties.

“A lot of excitement and a lot of mistakes,” said Bishop coach Tom Crawford. “Given the number of turnovers we had we were very fortunate to have a chance to win the game. I thought both quarterbacks showed why they are among the best in the area. Ryan (Welker) made a marvelous throw (for the winning TD) and Nolan did a great job putting some air underneath his pass to Carter (for the go-ahead TD).

The Pirates also had their ups and downs. Both Abraham Santos and Alec Hanna ran for more than 100 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown burst by Hanna in the first quarter, and Welker totaled 190 yards passing. Uribe also was 3-for-3 on field goals in the first half, including a 40-yarder and 26-yarder with no time left after an interception and 36-yard return by Foss ignited a late drive. But the Pirates were also flagged 10 times for 100 yards and displayed an alarming penchant for giving up big plays defensively in the final minutes.

“We have a lot of new kids playing and we need to regroup a little,” said Gruendyke.

Don’t be surprised if the rally point forms around a guy named Foss.

SANTA YNEZ 23, BISHOP DIEGO 22

Bishop Diego…0  6  0   16 _ 22
Santa Ynez…7   9    0   7   _ 23

First quarter
SY—Hanna 77 run (Uribe kick) 5:31.

Second quarter
SY—FG 40, Uribe, 4:46

BD—Kwock 87 kickoff return (Kick failed) 4:32

SY—FG 33, Uribe, 2:22

SY—FG 26, Uribe, 0:00
Fourth quarter
BD—Kwock 27 pass from Tisdale (Skinner run) 3:09

BD—Carter 40 pass from Tisdale (Tooley pass from Tisdale) 1:01

SY_Foss 16 pass from Welker (Uribe kick) :23.

BD       SY
First downs        17      18
Rushes-yards    23-139 31-250
Passing yards     176          190
Total yards        315          440
Passes           13-27-1      13-32-1
Sacks               0-0          1-4
Fumbles           5-3         1-0
Punts              4-28.5    4-35
Penalties        11-75     10-100

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS
RUSHING_BD: Gonzalez 16-103, Carter 1-10, Kwock 2-10, Gregson 2-5, Tisdale 2-11. SY: Hanna 8-126, Santos 15-112, Hollingsworth 3-13, Foss 2-4, Welker 3-minus-5.

PASSING_BD: Tisdale 13-26-1-176; Gonzalez 0-1-0-0. SY: Welker 13-31-1-190.

RECEIVING_BD: Gonzalez 3-29, Carter 4-66, Kwock 2-34, Pearson 2-13, Gregson 1-19, Mon 1-15. SY: Shaw 6-91, Moir 2-40, Foss 3-41, Miller 1-10, Hanna 1-8.

MISSED FIELD GOAL_SY: 27 (wr), 40 (wl).

RECORDS_BD 0-1, SY 1-0

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