AMERICAN CANYON — With two minutes remaining in Friday night’s contest, the American Canyon varsity football team led 28-24 over visiting Vanden.
The Vikings converted on a fourth-and-eight at the one-minute mark and had the ball at the 26. Vanden quarterback Jadon Brisendine threw to the end zone but Wolf Jerod Kansanback intercepted the ball off a tip from a Viking and sealed the victory for his team with 12.5 seconds left in the clock. American Canyon improved to 6-1, 1-1 in the Solano County Athletic Conference.
Wolves head coach Ian MacMillan said he was proud of his players and coaches for what they did this week, especially in his absence for a few days for the birth of his son.
“They battled back for each other and helped each other out, and that’s what a good football team does,” he said, adding that the team did a good job keeping their composure after an emotional and penalty-ridden game the week prior.
The Wolves were also without quarterback Justin Corpus, who had season-ending surgery due to an injury sustained last week against Vallejo, and also star running back Jomon Dotson, who had to sit out after being ejected in last week’s emotional loss.
But American Canyon filled in the pieces and pulled out a win.
Junior Michael Rapacon stepped in at quarterback, going 7-of-10 for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Junior Robert Wilkes stepped in as the team’s primary running back with 16 carries for 116 yards and a touchdown and junior wide receiver Malik Beachum stepped in for some running back action for the first time ever with nine carries for 58 yards on top of his two receiving touchdowns.
The Wolves first got on the board with 4:13 left in the first quarter after a long drive that was capped with senior Chris Seisay’s two-yard run. Rapacon’s kick was good and American Canyon led 7-0, and held the lead until the final whistle.
On the ensuing drive, Vanden went for it on fourth down with a fake punt but the pass was incomplete and American Canyon took over at its own 43. The Wolves decided to go for it as well on fourth-and-four and were much more successful as Rapacon grabbed the first down on a 9-yard QB keep.
The Wolves were still driving as the first quarter winded down and Wilkes eventually ran it in from three yards out, fumbled the ball and then recovered it for the touchdown, putting the Wolves up 14-0.
The Vikings responded big when Brisendine connected with Brandon Davis for a 64-yard touchdown. A penalty on offense moved the kick back to the 25 and Vanden missed, but got a second attempt due to a running into the kicker call.
The Vikings decided to go for two, but junior Malik Beachum intercepted Brisendine and the score was 14-6.
American Canyon proceeded to then one-up Vanden’s play when Rapacon threw to Beachum for a 68-yard score, a defining moment for Rapacon, who was filling in the cleats of Corpus.
Before the half expired, Vanden put up one more score via an 11-yard touchdown pass from Brisendine to Ren Littlepage to make it 21-12.
American Canyon got its final score of the night midway through the third when Rapacon once again connected with Beachum, this time for a score of 13 yards. The Wolves led 28-12 but Vanden wasn’t out of it yet.
A 90-yard zigzag across the field from Davis was called back due to a block in the back and Wolf Spencer LeMieux recovered a fumble a few plays later to give American Canyon the ball back. But the Wolves fumbled on the following play, and Vanden was back in possession at its 49 as the fourth quarter started.
Vanden turned the ball over on downs and on the next drive Wilkes took off toward the end zone with one player to beat, before being stripped of the ball, allowing the Vikings to regain possession. Vanden marched down from the 50 and scored on a 6-yard run from Littlepage to make it 28-18.
Little mistakes continued to cost the Wolves as Rapacon fumbled on the ensuing drive and Vanden was able to score again from an 18-yard pass from Brisendine to Davis.
But the Wolves came up big and blocked the kick, keeping the score out of field goal range. The Wolfpack defense then went on to preserve the win.
The American Canyon JV team (5-2, 0-2) fell to Vanden 20-7 on Friday night.