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Yorktown upsets South Lakes in region tourney football opener

Patriots were seventh seed and knocked off the second seed
Yorktown's Chris Montecino caught the late touchdown pass in the team's playoff victory over South Lakes.

Somehow, despite squandering opportunities to score throughout the game, the seventh seed and visiting Yorktown Patriots still managed to rally and pull off a big first-round upset in the 6D North Region football tournament.

With a late-game touchdown and extra point, Yorktown (7-4) edged the No. 2 seed and previously undefeated South Lakes Seahawks, 7-6, the night of Nov. 10 in the eight-team high-school tourney.

The winning points came with 23 seconds left when quarterback Hudson Greene connected in the left corner of the end zone with Chris Montecino on a 28-yard touchdown pass. Max Yoon kicked the extra point. 

The TD capped a nine-play, 82-yard drive.

The game ended when Michael Merritt intercepted a pass with no time remaining on South Lakes' final desperation play. The six points were the fewest the high-scoring and Concorde District champion South Lakes team scored in a game all season. 

The Seahawks led 6-0 at halftime, but costly penalties throughout the contest and two missed field goals kept South Lakes from scoring more. Yorktown also came up empty on other scoring opportunities by missing two field goals, being intercepted in the end zone and not converting a fourth-down attempt from the South Lakes three-yard line. 

The Patriots also survived unscathed when South Lakes took possession at Yorktown’s 20 yard line after a high snap on a punt but did not score.

“We thought we had a shot to win all week in practice, because our defense has been good all season and has allowed limited points,” Yorktown coach Bruce Hanson said. “The reason we won was our defense was so good and we were able to throw the ball well on offense.”

Yorktown passed for 311 yards, all by Greene. He was 22 of 31 passing. 

“Give credit to Hudson,” Hanson said. “He was very accurate, he makes smart decisions and he throws a catchable ball. Our line gave him time to throw.”

Montecino and Finn Luca were the big pass catchers. Montecino had six receptions for 137 yards and Luca seven for 120. Coby Casalengo had five for 36 and ran for 39 yards. Merritt, Max Troiano, Owen Woodward and Keegan Westhoff all had one catch.

The Patriots ran for only 55 yards, with Greene having 16 of those.

On defense for Yorktown, Merritt (two), Van Tranfa, Valentino Antoine and Nicholas Hornyak had sacks. Leading tacklers were those players along with Montecino, Eathan Blackwell, Everett Broadbent and Jackson Freeman-Moore drew many double teams on the defensive line.

Yorktown defensive coordinator Alex Hicks used 20 different players on defense to keep the unit fresh.

"They are a feisty bunch on defense, full of energy and they have fun playing," Hicks said. "We put a lot of pressure on South Lakes and kept them from getting good field position." 

South Lakes had 280 total yards.

Next up in the playoffs, Yorktown faces the No. 6 seed Westfield Bulldogs (8-3) in a region semifinal. The teams last met in the playoffs in the 2019 region championship game, won by Westfield, 35-7. Yorktown has never defeated Westfield the four times (twice in playoffs) the teams have met since Westfield opened in 2000.

The Patriots also won a first-round region playoff game last season, then lost to the champion Madison Warhawks in the semifinals.

NOTES: In other state-wide Class 6 region football playoff games the night of Nov. 10, Yorktown was the only No. 7 seed to win . . . In a first-round region playoff game in 2017, Yorktown lost to host South Lakes, 49-14.