SAN DIEGO — The first gutsy call was by San Pasqual Coach Mike Dolan. With his team trailing Lincoln, 27-26, and 22 seconds left in the game, Dolan elected to go for the two-point conversion.
He motioned quarterback Andy Loveland to the sideline and called for a pass play, presumably to tight end Chris Nottoli, who already had eight catches.
The second tough call belonged to Nottoli, when he called off the pass play and convinced Dolan to let him run the ball on the "Gangster Reverse."
"He said, 'I can get in even if I have to dive in,' " Dolan said of Nottoli's call. "I'm not going to say no to that."
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday December 8, 1987 San Diego County Edition Sports Part 3 Page 8 Column 4 Sports Desk 2 inches; 48 words Type of Material: Correction
Eric Enright of San Pasqual High School was the player who returned a kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown in the second half of Saturday's San Diego Section 2-A semifinal playoff. The touchdown narrowed Lincoln's lead to 20-14 as San Pasqual rallied for a 28-27 victory. Enright was not credited with the touchdown in Sunday's editions of The Times.
Nottoli's dive gave San Pasqual a surprising 28-27 comeback victory over defending champion Lincoln in the San Diego Section 2-A semifinal Friday night at Mesa College.
San Pasqual (7-5) advances to the Section 2-A championship next Friday against Avocado League rival San Marcos. Lincoln, the two-time defending champions finish the season at 9-3.
San Pasqual cut the lead to 27-26 after Loveland threw a five-yard scoring strike to Jim Clayton in the heart of the end zone. The 45-yard scoring drive began after Loveland intercepted a Freddie Stokes pass with 1:56 left.
On the two-point conversion, it appeared Nottoli would have been dropped for a loss when he stopped in his tracks before a charging Calvin McGee, Lincoln's free safety.
"When he stops like that, he is at his best," Dolan said. "That's when someone else has to beat him."
That someone else in this instance was Lincoln nose guard Monte Smith, who was charging in from Nottoli's left. That's when Nottoli made his game-winning dive over Smith and in to the end zone.
"I asked for the end around (Gangster Reverse) because we have been passing all night and I knew that they would expect it," he said.
What wasn't expected was Lincoln's sluggish play. The Hornets didn't begin to look like the team that has been feared by opponents all season until running back Darrin Wagner took his first carry of the second half 90 yards for a touchdown to give Lincoln a 27-14 lead. The first half was anything but typical for Lincoln.
Lincoln running back Darrin Wagner struggled, with only 43 yards in 7 carries in the first half.
Lincoln did get its share of breaks. A San Pasqual fumble on a bad snap recovered by Ken Watson on the Eagle 13 set up Lincoln's first touchdown, a 14-yard run off tackle by Wagner with 8:59 left in the opening period.
San Pasqual came right back, driving 73 yards in 13 plays, scoring on a 15-yard pass from quarterback Andy Loveland to Nottoli.
The score remained tied, 7-7, until late in the second period when Lincoln quarterback Freddie Stokes scored from the 1. Stokes failed on a pass attempt on the conversion, giving Lincoln a 13-7 lead.
On the 54-yard scoring drive, Wagner was stopped cold by San Pasqual linebacker Rick Aschbrenner at the 1. Wagner rushed for 1,677 yards during the regular season.
It took Lincoln only 1:25 to score. After San Pasqual's Jim Clayton fumbled on his 14-yard line, Lincoln took three plays to score on a five-yard run by Stokes.
By San Pasqual offered another surprise when Nottoli returned the ensuing kick 91 yards for a touchdown, trimming Lincoln's lead to 20-14 at the half.