AMERICAN CANYON — When Vanden High needed a hand Friday night in a 28-24 loss to the host American Canyon Wolves, it couldn’t buy one.
An illegal block in the back nullified Christian Basden’s 95-yard, never-say-die, third quarter kickoff return that would have been a touchdown to pull the Vikings within 10 points.
The special teams woes extended to the point-after-touchdown crew, which managed nary a point to coincide with the Vikings four trips to the end zone.
But most devastating were the pair of fourth-quarter drives deep into AmCan territory that ended with interceptions, including Vanden’s final possession of the game.
It was a crushing end to a 12-point, fourth-quarter rally for the Vikings.
Down 28-12, the final two plays of the third quarter were the two squads trading fumbles at midfield, with American Canyon’s Spencer LeMieux and Vanden’s John Forsythe grabbing the loose balls.
The net result of the turnovers was a 6-yard advantage for the Vikings, but their drive inside the 10 ended on 4th-and-goal with the first of Jason Brisendine’s two interceptions on the night.
The Wolves took over the ball at their own 4 with 9:01 remaining and on second down, Robert Wilkes, who led all rushers with 152 yards, broke to midfield for a 39-yard gain, but was stripped at the 50 and Vanden recovered.
Eight plays later, Ren Littlepage squirted through the line for a 6-yard tally with 5:41 remaining to close American Canyon’s lead to 28-18. On the two-point conversion, Brisendine rolled to his right, looking to pass, but a Wolves defender sacked him from behind.
The Wolves fumbled on the first play of the next drive, this time with Vanden’s Dan Hamilton scooping up the loose ball.
In a 59-second drive, Vanden scored the game’s final touchdown when Brisendine hit Basden for a 17-yard touchdown pass. The extra point attempt was blocked.
American Canyon went four-and-out on its penultimate possession, giving Vanden the ball with 2:09 remaining.
The Vikings’ final set of downs ended, however, with 12 seconds to play when Brisendine’s pass was tipped by a pack of Wolves defenders and plucked out of the air by American Canyon’s Jerod Kansanback.
Brandon Davis and Littlepage had first-half receiving touchdowns of 64 and 11 yards, respectively, for the Vikings, with Brisendine finishing with 207 yards, 107 of which to Davis, who led all receivers.
The loss drops Vanden to 2-5 overall and 0-2 in the Solano County Athletic Conference. American Canyon improves to 6-1 and 1-1.