Excel Christian outscored Sierra Lutheran 18-7 over the final 13 minutes Saturday afternoon to pull away with a 44-33 homecoming win.
The Warriors improved to 2-2, 1-1 in the DIV Northern – West (eight man) while the visiting Falcons dropped to 1-4, 0-3.
“It was a tough, good game,” Excel Christian coach Jeff Denson said. “The kids, they came through. They sucked it up and played, that’s what it is. It was a good game.”
Excel Christian senior running back Jake Haring had a big afternoon, finishing with 161 yards and four touchdowns on 24 touches.
His 10-yard touchdown in the final minutes of the third quarter gave the Warriors a 32-26 lead (failed two-point try) they wouldn’t relinquish.
“The kid (Haring) had a freaking awesome game,” Denson said.
Haring’s final touchdown of the afternoon, a 13-yarder one minute into the fourth after a Sierra Lutheran fumble, extended the lead to 38-26.
Junior quarterback Noah Denson put the game away with a one-yard keeper in the final two minutes.
“We’re a second half team so we always come out after halftime and pull it together and play hard,” Denson said. “That’s how we play.”
Sierra Lutheran quarterback Ryan Salerno hit Jake Cummings for a 35-yard touchdown for the final points of the afternoon with just 32 seconds left.
The Warriors’ Gabe Stralla recovered the ensuing onside kick.
The win came four weeks after Excel picked up its first win of the season—the only other complete game the Warriors have played this year. Excel Christian had to forfeit its last two games, including last week’s league opener against Mineral County, because it did not have enough healthy players.
“It was basically our opener. Our season started today,” Denson said. “It was a great win. It was a tough win.”
Another Excel player went down with an injury in the win but with two more coming back next week, the Warriors should have enough players to line up against eight-man power, Whittell, next Saturday at home.
The Tahoe squad is 4-0 and has outscored its opponents 271-30 this fall.
“They’ve killed everybody else. We’re going to give them a fight,” Denson said. “That’s all we can do.”
Kickoff next Saturday is at 1 p.m.