Galvanized by the memory of a fallen teammate, Fountain Valley nearly turned the Southern Section Division I playoffs upside down on Friday night.
Four days after left tackle Scotty Lang died during sprints at practice, Fountain Valley played as hard as it could for 48 minutes against the section's top-seeded team, Long Beach Poly.
But instead of writing a fairy tale ending, Fountain Valley was victim of its its own mistakes. The Barons lost to Poly, 28-20, in front of about 7,000 at Veterans Stadium in Long Beach.
Just how much did Fountain Valley put out for the memory of Lang? The Barons committed eight turnovers, yet lost by only eight points.
"We were trying to make every play," said quarterback Casey Clark, "and in the end, it hurt us."
Four of those turnovers resulted in Poly touchdowns.
Poly (11-0) will play Fontana A.B. Miller next.
Fountain Valley, which made the playoffs as a fourth-place at-large team from the Sunset League, finished 6-5.
Poly committed only one turnover, and despite the advantage, the game wasn't decided until the final minute, when Marley Tucker intercepted Clark's long pass at the 20- with 38 seconds remaining.
"I thought we could've won the ball game," Fountain Valley Coach Eric Johnson said. "I thought we could play with anybody. They were focused [but] turned it over [eight] times.
"We're a little wounded emotionally and physically."
Lang's funeral is today, 10 a.m., at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on Atlanta Ave., in Huntington Beach.
Fountain Valley's defense was superb, and the Barons out-gained Poly, 256-204.
An interception by Poly's Charles Jones led to a 44-yard pass play, Brandon Fasavalu to Donta Candler, and then Hershel Dennis scored on the next play from three yards out to make it 28-20 with 11:06 left to play.