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This doesn’t happen to Hart

Indians cannot contain Greyhounds running back Nick Tenhaeff, ending Herrington’s streak

Posted: November 21, 2008 11:19 p.m.
Updated: November 22, 2008 4:55 a.m.
ATASCADERO - In the coaching career of Hart High's Mike Herrington, the Indians had never been stopped short of the CIF-Southern Section quarterfinals.

The streak came to a halt in his 20th season Friday night at Atascadero Memorial Stadium in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division postseason.

Hart football could not contain Atascadero High tailback Nick Tenhaeff, who ran for three touchdowns, in a 34-21 loss.

Tenhaeff was a one-man wrecking crew, gaining 185 yards on 37 carries. He was responsible for 12 of Atascadero's 16 rushing first downs in the game. Sterling Bullard, a rotation back, added another 80 yards and two touchdowns.

"We did not play well on run defense," Herrington said. "Their second-team running back did a number on us, too. We were lucky because their fullback went out early in the game."

The Indians (5-6) finished with their first losing season since 1978, when they went 3-7. Hart finished third in the Foothill League.

The Indians' drive to start the fourth quarter featured a risky call by their coaches.

On fourth-and-3 on the Indians' own 43, they decided to go for it. But senior quarterback Spenser Souza's pass was high and off the hands of running back Jake Stephens. That was after a pass was off the hands of receiver Blake Borland.

Hart receivers dropped four passes in the game.

"We catch the ball, it's a first down," Herrington said. "That's the bottom line."

Atascadero pounced on the opportunity.Bullard bounced off two tackles and scored on a 26-yard touchdown run, making it a 28-14 Greyhound lead.

The Indians showed part of the reason why they earned their trip to the playoffs, scoring on their next drive with 5:45 left in the game.

Souza faked a handoff and found Diamond on a swing pass for a 10-yard touchdown to cut Atascadero's lead to 28-21. Souza was 5-for-7 on the drive, which included a 30-yard completion to Borland on fourth-and-10 to the Atascadero 35. Souza went 10-for-21 with 181 yards, running for another 81 yards on 12 carries.

"We didn't capitalize on what we wanted to do (Friday night)," Diamond said. "That's been a point the coaches have been preaching all season long, capitalizing on every opportunity you have. In the grand scheme of things, the score reflects our production."

But an onside kick was recovered by Greyhound Tucker Thompson at the Atascadero 49.

The Hart defense could not stop the run, as Bullard raced in off-tackle for a 30-yard run and the two-touchdown advantage.

Indian kickoff returner Nate Allmond took the ball to the Greyhound 46. But Souza could not find an open receiver on third-and-8, and Dane Atkinson forced a fumble on a sack.

Atascadero (9-2) recovered at the Hart 29 with two minutes left, and the Pac-7 champions took a few knees to seal the game.

At 7:30 p.m. Friday at Atascadero, in the second round of the playoffs, the Greyhounds await Marmonte League champion Moorpark, who on Friday night defeated Camarillo, 45-21.

Hart wasted little time taking a 14-7 lead, scoring 1:08 into the second half. Stephens ran through a gaping hole on the left-hand side for a 16-yard touchdown.

Stephens took the pigskin left, then right and found paydirt while barely being touched.

After Hart was penalized 15 yards for a personal foul on the enusing kickoff, Atascadero tied the score at 14. Tenhaeff took a sweep 19 yards down the right side for a touchdown. The senior dove and put the ball past the pylon right before he fell out of bounds.

With six seconds left in the third quarter, the Greyhounds went ahead for good, 21-14. Tenhaeff struck again on a 4-yard burst. The drive was set up in part by a sack by Brandon Armstrong on Souza near the 50, which took the Indians out of field-goal range.

"We start out the second half scoring a touchdown," Herrington said. "Then we let them go right down and score. They ran roughshod on us after that."

With 11:43 left in the first half, Stephens dove for a 1-yard touchdown, the game's first.

Souza called an audible to himself for a 28-yard run to set the score up. Originally behind center, Souza quickly stepped back into shotgun formation. He took the snap
and sprinted to within a yard of a touchdown.

The drive was made possible by a huge special teams play with 1:37 left in the first quarter. Brandon Cox knifed his way right through the line to block a 47-yard field goal attempt by Nathan Stein. Cox's hands helped the Indians start their scoring drive at their own 42.

On the first drive of the game, Hart forced a fumble that was recovered by Ty MacArthur. The play came on a high snap that Atascadero quarterback Bradley Smet did not handle. The Indians did not turn the turnover into points. Diamond's 11-yard catch was negated by a holding penalty. On third-and-10, Souza's pass to Stephens fell incomplete.

The Greyhounds answered with a 1-yard dive by Tenhaeff after a grinding, 13-play, 69-yard drive that chewed up more than eight minutes of game time.

Hart hammered away for 136 yards in the first half. Souza had 57 yards on 3-for-8 passing and gained another 34 yards on three carries.

Tenhaeff had 22 carries for 86 yards in the half.

"Everyone was in perfect position," Diamond said. "It was just missed tackles and that was it, basically."

Hart tried to get its passing game going in the first half, but was unsuccesful. Souza found wide-open receivers like Beau Goodrick and Borland, but neither could come up with catches on diving efforts.


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