PLEASANTON -- On an opening night to remember, the Amador Valley High football team held on for a dramatic 29-27 victory over Freedom on Friday.
The Falcons marched 80 yards on 10 plays to cut the deficit to two points on Joe Mixon's 2-yard burst with 1:44 left. But a host of Dons tacklers stopped Mixon short on the two-point attempt.
However, the Falcons recovered the ensuing onside kick to set up a last-ditch attempt to get a victory.
Freedom marched to the Amador Valley 11-yard line, but Anthony Cantabrana's 28-yard field goal attempt was wide left, touching off an Amador celebration.
A jubilant Amador Valley running back/linebacker Sam Peters marveled at the Dons' effort and Freedom's athletic ability.
"They are very talented team, Oh, my gosh, but we worked very hard this summer," Peters said. "I guess the second half and the first half went pretty well."
Senior quarterback Kyle Moreno, who passed for 181 yards and two touchdowns, gave the Dons a 22-21 lead on a 2-yard run to cap a 73-yard drive to begin the second half.
The lead was 29-21 on a well-executed 25-yard touchdown run by Peters, who burst through a huge hole on a draw play with 11:42 left in the fourth quarter.
The drive was helped along by a 15-yard personal foul penalty on a fourth-down pass.
Freedom coach Kevin Hartwig said his team struggled to move the ball.
"They came out ready, and we didn't," Hartwig said.
During an entertaining first half, the teams combined for 37 points and four touchdowns over the final seven minutes.
The Dons moved the ball effectively and led 16-14 with 49 seconds left in the half on an 8-yard scoring pass from Moreno to Kyle Greenan. But the Falcons responded with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Dante Mayes, who passed for 253 yards and two touchdowns, to Darrell Daniels with no time left on the clock. The athletic Daniels out-jumped three Amador Valley players in the end zone.
Daniels opened the game with a 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown as he veered left and outran the last Amador defender to the sideline and broke free.
However, Amador Valley responded and was effective moving the ball throughout the first half.