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Vista breaks away late to beat Union Mine, 35-21

By: Nick Pecoraro/Telegraph Correspondent
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The Vista del Lago defense turned up the volume when it needed to late in the game on Friday night at Prairie City Stadium to take momentum and a win away from Union Mine, 35-21. Aaron Young hit Chris Cooper for a big pass play, which set up a 15-yard Ethan Pipion score that tied the game at 21. After Union Mine missed a field goal attempt, Vista took over on downs. Young found Cooper once again for another long pass play, which led to a three-yard strike from Young to Taylor Wisinski to break the tie, 28-21. Union Mine began charging downfield before Andrew Willets picked off a Graham Bennett pass that led to an insurance touchdown from Logan Smith to seal the Vista win. “I’d been making some mistakes and when the sideline’s calling you out, you know you’ve got to step up for them. I tried my best and got lucky and got a pick. We had a team defensive meeting and said that we can’t let this team run all over us on our senior night,” said Willets, one of 15 seniors honored for Vista. Vista turned the ball over on downs on their first drive of the second half. The Eagle ‘D’ forced a three-and-out, allowing Young to find Smith for a 25-yard touchdown midway through the third to give the Eagles a one-point advantage. Once Union Mine drove 65 yards on the game’s opening drive, Smith returned the ensuing kickoff 68 yards to the Diamondback 24 where Pipion took over, rushing three times and picking up the score to make it 7-6, Vista. “I’m so glad we got this win. That interception that Andrew made just shifted the energy around, got our offense pumped and we got in the end zone,” said Pipion, who carried the ball 21 times for 127 yards and two scores. “(Union Mine) knew they had to stop Logan and our coaches trusted me and I felt good running it.” Union Mine’s Sean Tow was a tough assignment on the ground for the Eagles. He rushed for all three Diamondback scores in the first half, including an 89-yard breakaway on first down in which he broke several Eagle tackles. The 5’6” running back rushed for more than 200 yards on the night. With one game remaining, Vista owns a tiebreaker over Liberty Ranch and Union Mine for the Sierra Valley Conference title, which increases their chance of hosting a playoff game for the second consecutive year. “Our goal is to always win a league championship first and good things happen from there,” said Vista coach Chris Jones. “That’s where it starts and when you come from there, when hosting a playoff game, you give yourself a chance a better opportunity to be successful.” JV Eagles 29, Diamondbacks 15 The bye week proved to be useful for the JV Eagles, as their defensive unit came within four minutes of a shutout and defeated Union Mine, 29-15. Vista got touchdowns from Brady Hein, Jacob Winkler, Mike Majeski and Austin Wertens, while the defense picked up three fumbles for the Eagles. “Our defense came up big. The kids played hard and tackled great. We didn’t have the best week of practice so to see them come out and play hard like this was great,” said Vista coach Kevin Placek, whose Eagles are now 4-5 with one game remaining. “It was nice to get a win after the bye week and a close game to Cosumnes Oaks.”