HAYWARD -- De'Angelo Hernandez ran for 207 yards and two second-half touchdowns, leading the Salesian High football team to a 19-13 win over Valley Christian in the North Coast Section Division V championship game Saturday night at Chabot College.
It marked the No. 5-seeded Pride's third section title in the past four years, also including Division IV crowns in 2010 and 2011, under coach Chad Nightingale.
Valley Christian, the No. 2 seed, was led by senior stalwart Vince Volpatti's 197 yards rushing and two touchdowns, on runs of 63 yards and 90 yards.
Valley Christian had beaten Salesian 21-12 on Nov. 9 in the regular season.
"These two teams are evenly matched," Nightingale said of the Tri-County Athletic League-Rock Division rivals. "But our guys are tough. They kept playing, and they never gave up. That's what we really try to strive for."
The Pride turned up the defensive intensity in the second half, shutting out the Vikings after Volpatti's 90-yard run with 7:14 left in the third quarter, which put his team ahead 13-6. Hernandez tied it 13-13 with a 62-yard run with 1:46 left in the third quarter.
Hernandez broke the tie with a 32-yard touchdown run with 11:22 left in the fourth quarter. On the play, he took a pitch to the left and cut back toward the middle, finding a seam in the stingy Vikings' defense.
Nightingale praised Hernandez for his hard running and the Pride defense, but gave special recognition to his young offensive line.
"We started two sophomores on that left-hand side, and I can't say enough about them," Nightingale said of linemen Nicholas Mangle and Charles Lee. "Those two guys stepped up. They're gonna be there in the next two years, and I'm really happy."
The game marked Valley Christian's first appearance in an NCS title game. The Vikings previously competed in Division IV, as did the Pride.
Volpatti, in his final high-school contest, had a typically outstanding game on offense and defense.
"Our team is great," Volpatti said. "We just needed to face adversity, and we didn't, but I still love my team and everything. I going to miss these guys."
The Vikings came up with a goal-line stand late in the first half to preserve a 7-6 lead. After the Pride had a first down on the Salesian 7-yard line, Vikings' inside linebacker Demaurier Blackwell made back-to-back defensive stops on Hernandez, the first for a 2-yard loss and the second with a touchdown-saving stop on a 6-yard gain to the 3. The Vikings then stopped runners on back-to-back 1-yard gains to assume possession.
The Vikings led 7-0 on a 63-yard touchdown run by Volpatti with 8:00 left in the first quarter, in which he took a pitch left and received a great block on the corner from Isaiah Harris and then from Jairus Woodson down field. Volpatti cut back across the field, high-stepping as he followed his blockers toward the end zone.
The Pride responded with a 12-yard touchdown run by Charles Hillary with 10:23 left in the first half . But the extra point try was wide.
However, the Pride squandered good field position in the second quarter. The Vikings held Salesian without a first down after the Pride recovered a fumble on an exchange at the Vikings' 27. Volpatti had the big defensive play with a sack of quarterback Dominic Parella for a 9-yard loss on third down. Parella then threw incomplete in the end zone on fourth down.
Salesian had other chances to open up a bigger lead, but the Vikings defense held the Pride in check. After the Pride's Aaron Hayes ran 55 yards on a punt return to the Vikings' 5, the Pride fumbled the ball away on their next play as Blackwell recovered. Volpatti went 90 yards for the score on the next play.
Valley Christian turned the ball over twice on fumbles and hurt its chances with untimely penalties.