Quartz Hill Feels Smug, Then Gets Mugged by Dominguez, 21-10
When a line-drive kick by Andy Rethi sailed through the uprights for a 37-yard field goal with 4 minutes 55 seconds left in Friday night’s first-round Southern Section Division II playoff game, Rethi and his Quartz Hill High teammates might have been feeling a little smug.
“We thought momentum was going our way,” said Rethi, whose kick gave the Rebels a three-point lead over Dominguez.
Fifteen seconds later, the momentum was gone. And so was Jason Thomas.
Thomas, a sophomore quarterback, returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for the go-ahead touchdown in a 21-10 victory for the Dons.
Thomas, 6 feet 4, 215 pounds, scored all three Dominguez touchdowns, each in spectacular fashion.
His first score came on a 35-yard run in the first quarter on a play in which he fumbled. And, while trying to run out the clock on a sneak with 56 seconds left, Thomas burst from a pack of tacklers for a 69-yard touchdown.
Thomas completed four of eight passes for 40 yards and threw an interception, but he also intercepted a pass by Quartz Hill’s Brian Woodworth in the final quarter and rushed 10 times for 130 yards.
Rethi, who kicked off, was the last man who had a shot at Thomas on the return.
“I tried taking out the angle,” Rethi said, “but he was just too quick.”
The Rebels finish the season 8-3. Dominguez’s 4-7 record is deceiving: The Dons forfeited seven victories for using an ineligible player.
Thomas is not the only reason the Dons are headed for the second round. A quick and physical defense sacked Woodworth five times and held Jeremiah Harris, the Rebels’ top rusher, to 68 yards in 26 carries.
On a clear night with no wind in the Antelope Valley, both teams looked like they were playing in a quagmire. In all, 26 plays resulted in negative yardage. Quartz Hill finished with 164 yards; Dominguez had 227.
Thomas looked awkward in scoring the game’s first touchdown. His 35-yard run actually covered 54 yards when Thomas, avoiding a sack by Darrell Thompson, fumbled but came out of a scramble with the loose ball. He sprinted upfield and eventually dove across the goal line.
By comparison, a game-tying 10-yard sweep in the second quarter by Woodworth, who completed six of 14 for 110 yards, seemed boring.