Cate’s magical season ends in Catalina

Cate’s road to the CIF Division 1 8-man football title game ended across the ocean on Friday, as the Rams suffered a 44-33 semifinal loss to Avalon on Catalina Island.

The Rams trailed 20-13 at halftime, but Avalon extended its lead in the third quarter by capitalizing on missed tackles and penalties.

Clinton Hall connected with Dean Smith on a deep pass to keep the Rams close in the fourth quarter. Avalon, however, was able to stave off the challenge and advance to the championship game.

The two teams traded scores and stops in the first quarter. Oliver Welch had a monster ball game for the Rams, reeling in a deep touchdown pass from Michael Nettesheim and connecting on two field goals in the half.

Key defensive plays from Isaiah Washington and Musa Hakim kept the game close in the first half.

Avalon came up with some big plays in the second half to extend its lead. Jerod Long and Jose Carmen Silva each scored two touchdowns to the lead the Lancers (10-0), who will play Mojave for the championship

Cate finished the season with a 9-1 record.

“While the end of a season is always disappointing, I’m so proud of all that our team did this fall,” assistant coach Dave Soto said. “To focus on just one game wouldn’t do justice to the success we had this season. Our team accomplished so much and truly did raise the bar for Cate football.”