The Deer Valley High football team will look to get things going in the right direction when it travels to Pleasanton to play Foothill on Nov. 9 in the first round of the North Coast Section Division I playoffs.
The Wolverines enter the postseason on a three-game losing streak, which included a 24-21 loss to Heritage on Nov. 2. The normally effective Deer Valley running game was held to 116 yards on 35 carries by the Patriots, and its offense had two turnovers.
The Wolverines take on a Foothill team that has lost four of its last six games, including a 28-23 loss to Amador Valley on Nov. 2.
Against the Patriots, Deer Valley's athletic and versatile quarterback Nsimba Webster was held in check in the first half. Webster was 0 for 8 to start the game with two interceptions.
D'maree' Lewis picked Webster near midfield with 6:30 left in the first, and intended receiver, Elijah Iakopo, shoved Lewis after the play, setting off a melee that saw several punches thrown and four players ejected.
The coaches did a good job controlling the sidelines during the fracas, and there were no further incidents in the game. However, two Deer Valley players will have to sit out the game because of the melee.
It was a physical defensive battle early on. Heritage ran just three offensive plays in the first quarter and 17 total in the first half, but Travon Covington-Zeno got a huge block from Hunter Machado to spring him for an 85-yard punt return for the first score of the game.
Several big hits had both sides a little edgy, and when Lewis elevated above the tight end Iakopo for the interception, the pot boiled over. Iakopo pushed Lewis and then swung at and connected with at least one Heritage player.
After the dust settled, the Patriots secondary made things exciting again, when Sam Hinn intercepted Webster's next pass and raced 42 yards to the end zone to put the Patriots up 14-0.
Webster rallied his team late in the first half, driving 87 yards on 14 plays. On fourth and goal, Webster hit Lee Ward for a 7-yard score with just 9.3 seconds left in the half.
Senior Carter Blaise returned the third quarter kickoff 50 yards to Deer Valley's 35-yard line, setting up sophomore Caleb Michael's 29-yard field with 7:56 left in the third to make it 17-7. The three points proved crucial as Deer Valley missed a 21-yard field goal on the next possession.
Webster rallied his team, connecting with Deon Pruitt four times for 125 yards in the game. On a fourth-and-goal late in the third, Webster scrambled in from four yards out to trim the lead to 17-14.
Julian Johnson answered with a 1-yard score for the Patriots, but it wasn't over.
Lewis nearly intercepted Webster again, knocking a pass away with 4:55 left, but as the ball sailed toward the sideline, Nzuzi Webster dove for the ball and caught it in the end zone to make the score 24-21.
Heritage didn't let the Wolverines have the ball back, running out the clock with a seven-play, 44-yard drive.
Correspondent Ken Silman contributed to this story.