By the end of the victory ride, all was forgiven.
Agoura High football Coach Frank Greminger, after celebrating his 100th career victory aboard the shoulders of his team, was in no mood to hold a grudge in the wake of a 17-14 win Friday night over visiting Simi Valley.
For junior kicker Robert Sahm, that meant a quick ascension from the doghouse to the penthouse.
Sahm got off on the wrong foot in the first quarter when his 35-yard punt traveled in the wrong direction--right at Simi’s dangerous M.J. Nelson.
Nelson made Sahm pay for the mistake with a 52-yard return for a touchdown, giving the Pioneers a 7-0 lead with 8:07 left in the first period.
When it counted most, however, Sahm had the last kick. His 30-yard field gosl with 2:02 remaining in the third period stood up as the game-winner.
That left Greminger in a forgiving--and celebrating--mood.
“We knew we couldn’t kick to him (Nelson), but then he (Sahm) goes out and kicks it right to him,” Greminger said. “But he’s just a junior, and he’s still learning.
“I chew out everyone out there, and then I pat them on the back at the end. I think he knew I wasn’t trying to show him up, and then he went back right back out there and did that.”
In addition to his game-winning field goal, Sahm booted a 53-yard punt that fell dead at the Simi eight-yard line with under two minutes remaining in the game.
It was the finishing touch on an historic victory for Greminger.
“I guess it’s special,” said Greminger, fighting back a blush, after improving his career record at Agoura to 100-57-2.
The way the game started, it didn’t appear that Greminger would reach his milestone against Simi Valley, rated eighth in The Times Valley Top Ten poll.
After Nelson’s punt return score, he was back in a blur 32 seconds later. After Agoura fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Nelson ran 31 yards on the next play from scrimmage for a 14-0 Simi lead.
In all, Nelson had 108 yards on 18 rushes.
It wasn’t enough, however, to overcome determined Agoura, rated fifth in the Desert Mountain Conference.
Following Nelson’s second touchdown, the Chargers marched 69 yards on six plays to cut the lead to 14-7. Jon DeGennaro hit Donnie Rea on a 25-yard screen pass for the score after hitting the senior tight end with a 30-yard pass to open the series.
On its next possession, Agoura went 47 yards on nine plays, capped on a two-yard run by Brock Hoffman, who scored his fifth touchdown of the season.
The Chargers failed to convert on two scoring opportunities in the second half but held on for the win on the strength of Sahm’s right foot.