You would be hard-pressed to find a better football game than the one put together between Newark Memorial High and El Cerrito on Friday night.
In a nonleague matchup, visiting El Cerrito battled back from deficits of 7-0 and 14-7 but couldn't capitalize on its last drive of the game as the two teams played to a 14-14 tie.
"At the end of the day, I'm proud of my team," El Cerrito coach Kenny Kahn said.
The Gauchos finish the nonleague season with a record of 2-1-1. They open Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League play Oct. 7 against Pinole Valley.
Their resume includes a win over a Division II team (San Lorenzo), a tie against Division II Newark and a win over Division III foe Petaluma. Their lone loss was a 16-13 thriller to Campolindo last week.
"We're going to go out and fine tune and get ready for league," Kahn said.
El Cerrito quarterback Jordan Webster threw for 187 yards on 10 for 25 passing. Included in that total was a 25-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Jalen Harvey with 4:45 left to tie the score 14-14.
Harvey finished with six receptions for 104 yards.
Still, El Cerrito came up short in its final effort.
The Gauchos had a first-and-10 at their 34 with 2:17 left. They went 51 yards to the 25, but the drive stalled, and they gave the ball back to Newark on downs with 18 seconds left.
"They have some good athletes over there, and we did a good job of holding them under control," Newark coach Rich Swift said.
Newark (0-1-1) got on the board first with a 7-yard touchdown run by Hunter Rockwell. The senior rushed for 213 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown run to open the second quarter, which gave the Cougars a 14-7 lead.
"This is a little frustrating," Swift said. "We did enough good things to win and not enough to get the 'W' ".