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Falcons muddy playoff picture for Grizzlies

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Sunnyside's Adrian Cantu scrambles as he looks downfield for an open receiver.

Fighting to clinch a spot in the 3A playoffs, the Sunnyside Grizzlies lost a close game to the Hanford Falcons this past Friday night.

The 19-18 Homecoming loss puts Sunnyside into a three-way tie for fourth place in the Columbia Basin League.

"The story of the game was missed opportunities," SHS Coach Mark Marro said. "We had three extra points blocked, that was the difference in the game."

Hanford's Asa Clements, filling in for an injured James Rogers, kicked a 37-yard field goal with 2:22 left in regulation to lift the Falcons past the Grizzlies.

Hanford scored first in the game, taking the lead on a Roger's 35-yard field goal with 9:41 left in the first quarter.

The Grizzlies then started a drive on their own 30-yard line. After driving 32 yards, Sunnyside's Adrian Cantu found Frankie Salcedo in a wheel route and hit him with a pass. Salcedo then raced down the sidelines for a 38-yard touchdown.

The extra point attempt was blocked, giving Sunnyside a 6-3 lead.

Hanford scored again late in the half on a Travis Chalk one-yard touchdown run. Clements' kick was good and the Falcons were up 10-6.

Sunnyside went ahead late in the third quarter when Cantu threw his second touchdown pass of the game to Danny Alvarez. The 12-yard reception put the Grizzlies up 12-10 after Sunnyside's second point after attempt was blocked.

"Danny caught the ball in the flats and took it in," Marro said.

Hanford took the lead for the third time with 11:21 remaining in the fourth quarter. Chalk hit Tyler Stark for a 27-yard pass play, resulting in a touchdown for the Falcons. The point after attempt failed.

In the middle of the fourth quarter Hanford's drive was stopped by the Grizzlies. The Falcons decided to punt but Hanford's punter caught the ball with his knee down on his own five-yard line. The mistake gave Sunnyside the ball and Gibby Briones punched it in for a five-yard touchdown on the next play. Again, the extra point attempt was blocked, giving Sunnyside an 18-16 lead.

"There was a breakdown on the line," Marro said, explaining the three blocked extra points. "We're not going to dwell on that. As a coach, I take all the blame. It's something we're going to try to work on."

After Clements put the Falcons up 19-18, Sunnyside had an opportunity to drive for a score but they never got close enough for a field goal attempt.

"Right now we're just concentrating on Southridge," Marro said, speaking of Sunnyside's next opponent.

Cantu completed 12 passes out of 28 attempts for 121 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw two interceptions.

Gibby Briones led the Grizzlies on the ground with 69 yards rushing and one touchdown. Salcedo led the Grizzlies in receiving yards with 74 on three receptions. He also had a touchdown.

The Grizzlies find themselves in a confusing playoff picture. They sit at 2-3 in league right now and will play Southridge (3-2) Friday, Oct. 26, in Kennewick.

If Sunnyside beats Southridge and Hanford loses, Sunnyside will take third place in the CBL. If Hanford wins as well, a mini-playoff will be played with Southridge, Sunnyside and Hanford all participating.

If Sunnyside loses and Hanford and Eastmont lose as well, another mini-playoff will be played. The picture will be clearer after next week.

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