PLEASANT HILL — It was just a matter of time before Alhambra's Taylor Poyadue made this his game, scoring two touchdowns and turning in three key plays in the second half to stem College Park's spirited comeback attempt.
Poyadue had a relatively uneventful 105 yards on 22 carries, not breaking the 100-yard mark until a 50-yard run across the grain midway through the fourth quarter. But he ran for one score and caught another touchdown — set up by his 68-yard kickoff return to start the second half — then ended the Falcons' hopes with an interception in the final minute.
The Bulldogs led 24-0 at one point, but College Park never gave them the chance to keep a comfortable lead.
Timmy Jackson's first start at quarterback for the Falcons didn't start off well when he lost fumbles on two of College Park's first three plays from scrimmage, which led to a 14-0 Alhambra lead in little more than 90 seconds.
Zack Keever fell on Jackson's first fumble, at the College Park 22-yard line. The Bulldogs scored four plays later on Julian Archuleta's 1-yard run. One play later, after a touchback on the kickoff, Jose Gonzalez picked up Jackson's fumble and went 20 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 9:25 left in the first quarter.
In the second quarter Jackson moved to running back and exploded, throwing a 33-yard touchdown pass to Jaelen Collins, rushed for 78 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, and also returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown.
Whatever momentum College Park had built on Collins' touchdown with 13.5 seconds left in the first half, Poyadue seemed to erase it when he returned the second-half kickoff 68 yards to the College Park 27. After a 13-yard run by Malik Thomas, Poyadue took a swing pass from Leo Costa and scored from 14 yards for a 31-7 lead.
The Falcons responded with a 62-yard drive, which started with a 15-yard penalty against Alhambra and ended nine plays later on Jackson's 9-yard run.
Inside linebacker Sean Alkire and defensive back Matt DeSilva anchored a defensive stand which forced Alhambra a short punt, which led to a 16-yard touchdown run by Nick LeSage — who replaced Jackson at quarterback — and pulled the Falcons within 31-21 with three minutes left in the third quarter.
The Falcons stuffed Poyadue on his next two carries, but a 24-yard burst helped set up Costa's 7-yard scoring pass to Monte Cabrera with 5:51 left to play.
Alhambra 38, College Park 27
Alhambra 17 7 7 7-- 38
College Park 0 7 14 6-- 27
A -- Archuleta 1 run (Paredes kick)
A -- Gonzalez 20 fumble return (Parades kick)
A -- Parades 35 FG
A -- Poyadue 5 run (Parades kick)
CP -- Collins 33 pass from Jackson (Utler kick)
A -- Poyadue 14 pass from Costa (Parades kick)
CP -- Jackson 9 run (Utler kick)
CP -- LeSage 16 run (Utler kick)
A -- Cabrera 4 pass from Costa (Parades kick)
CP -- Jackson 99 kickoff return (kick blocked)
Rushing: A -- Poyadue 22-102, Thomas 5-42, Archuleta 2-17, Costa 1-0. Totals 30-161. CP -- Jackson 15-78, LeSage 6-45, DeSilva 10-39, Luna 5-15. Totals 36-187.
Passing: A -- Costa 11-18-0 103. CP -- Jackson 2-3-1 35, LeSage 2-4-0 22. Totals 4-7-1 57.
Receiving: A -- Little 4-45, Cabrera 4-22, Hill 1-15, Poyadue 1-14, Thomas 1-7.
Fumbles/lost: Alhambra -- 1/1. College Park -- 3/3.
Records: Alhambra 1-0, College Park 0-1.