STOCKTON — For all the offense produced by the Lodi and Stagg offenses Friday night at Stagg, it was the Delta Kings’ defense which stole the show on the last play of the game to preserve a Stagg victory.
The Delta Kings claimed a dramatic 41-37 victory and celebrated wildly after a fourth down-and-goal pass by the Flames fell short of a completion at the goal line. It was the fourth time the Stagg defense kept the Flames (1-2) from converting on fourth down inside Stagg (3-1) red zone.
“We didn’t score five times in the red zone tonight. We had ’em,”Lodi coach George Duenas said. “The kids had a let-down last week, but we came out, executed our game plan, we had them in check, but when you’re not taking advantage of those chances, you’re letting them off the hook.”
After the Flames took a 23-13 lead into halftime, the Delta Kings roared back to finally take a 34-30 lead on a 14-yard pass from quarterback Cameron Deville to Dominique James with 8 minutes, 4 seconds left in the game.
However, the Flames went 58 yards on eight plays for a 37-34 lead on a 15-yard quarterback keeper by Logan Stout with 4:11 remaining. Moments later Stagg’s Markell Shelton raced down the sideline on a 44-yard touchdown run that proved to be the game-winning touchdown. Shelton finished with 122 yards on 10 carries.
Deville led Stagg to its fourth consecutive victory over the Flames by throwing for 325 yards and five touchdowns, giving him 18 touchdowns and 1,241 yards passing in four games. His primary target was James, who collected 162 yards on 11 receptions and three touchdowns.
For the Flames, Deville led Lodi’s rushing attack with 125 yards on 26 carries, including two scores. Myles Lozano and Larry McDowell added 87 and 80 yards rushing, respectively.
The Flames opened the scoring by turning the first of two first-quarter interceptions into a 2-yard touchdown run by Stout. That score was set up by Nico Cabrera’s interception at the Stagg 31-yard line, and the scoring drive resulted in an 8-0 lead after Stout ran it in for the 2-point conversion.
Moments later, Lodi’s Lozano intercepted another Deville pass after it was tipped by a teammate. Lozano ran it back to the Stagg 33-yard line, where the Flames began its second scoring drive. That seven-play drive ended on McDowell’s 3-yard touchdown rush, giving Lodi a stunning 15-0 lead.
In fact, thanks to the two turnovers, Lodi’s offense ran 26 of the first 31 plays of the game.
Undaunted, Stagg responded with a 32-yard touchdown catch to Joshua Lewis from Deville with 11 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Lodi then drove 62 yards to the Stagg 5-yard line when its drive stalled thanks to a stout Delta Kings defense. That led to a 96-yard scoring drive that ended on a 20-yard pass from Deville to Dominique James, cutting Lodi’s lead to 15-13.
However, the Flames took a 23-13 lead into halftime when Andreas Pappas caught a 39-yard touchdown reception from Stout with 44 seconds remaining until halftime.
At that point, the Flames had outgained the Delta Kings in total yardage by a 295-223 margin.
Prior to the beginning of the Homecoming game, four more former players were inducted into the Stagg High Football Hall of Fame. Honored were Randall Cashore, Mike Nolan, Steve Sievers and Kriss Smith, all from the 1974 SJAA championship team. There are now more than 40 people in the hall of fame.