As bad starts go, the first quarter played by Wilson High School in its City Freeway League finale against Locke Friday had to rank among the worst. Poor defense and two fumbles by the Mules helped the Saints build a 17-0 lead before many in the Locke homecoming crowd of 1,200 had found seats.
Wilson played Locke about even after that, but it was hardly enough to compensate for that disastrous first quarter as the Saints defeated the Mules, 29-16.
However, Locke did not guarantee itself a 3-A wild-card playoff berth with the victory. Locke finished with a 3-2 league record, good for third place. The Saints will play Canoga Park, which finished third in the Sunset League with a 3-2 record, in a game to decide one of the two wild-card berths. Fairfax, which tied Hamilton for second place in the Crosstown League, is assured of the other wild-card berth.
Wilson's bad day began on the first play from scrimmage. Locke running back Donovan Moore took a pitch, cut right through the line, sped away from some would-be tacklers and headed up the sideline for a 77-yard touchdown run. Darian Hagan ran into the end zone for a two-point conversion, and Locke had an 8-0 lead not even a minute into the game.
On Wilson's first play, quarterback Mark Rincon fumbled the snap, picked it up and fumbled it again. Locke's Samuel Jones recovered at the Wilson 15.
The Saints failed to move the ball in three plays, so Robinson called on kicker Jose Elizerras, who made a 32-yard field goal to give Locke an 11-0 lead.
Locke (6-3 overall) recovered another Wilson fumble--this one at the Mule 34--before the quarter was over. Ten plays later, Hagan scored on a five-yard run to make it 17-0.
Wilson (2-3, 5-3) took better care of the ball in the second quarter, and also took away some of Locke's momentum.
Wilson's Ernie Ortiz blocked an Elizerras punt late in the second quarter, and several Wilson players, including Ortiz, nearly recovered the ball in the end zone. However, it rolled out of the end zone for a safety for the Mules' first points.
Elizerras' free kick was returned 12 yards by John Chavez to the Locke 36. Rincon completed passes of 8 and 10 yards to Feliciano Ramirez to move the ball to the 13, from where Rincon threw a scoring pass to Victor Ramirez with 41 second to go in the half, cutting Locke's lead to 17-9.
Any hopes Wilson had of a comeback ended early in the third quarter, when Locke scored two touchdowns to put the game out of reach.