ANTELOPE — The Buhach Colony offense took the field with a seven-point lead and just over 7 minutes left in the game.
The way the Thunder saw it, it was time to go win the game.
Taking over at its own 29-yard line Buhach Colony marched 71 yards on 12 plays, taking 5 minutes and 36 seconds off the clock. Stefon Gold scored on a 2-yard plunge to open up a two-touchdown lead and the Thunder eventually held on to a 35-28 win over Antelope on Friday night in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 2 playoffs.
"That was the best drive of the night," said Buhach Colony head coach Kevin Swartwood, whose team improved to 10-2 and advanced to the semifinals for the third straight season. "Jerry Dietz is our offensive coordinator. Him and Roger Johnson, they did a great job of figuring out what to do on that drive to get little chunks of yards."
Buhach Colony ran the ball 11 times on the final drive for 43 yards. Quarterback Joe Marquez hit tight end Rafael Sosa for a 28-yard pass on a big third down play to get the drive jump-started.
The Thunder kept the ball out of the hands of Antelope quarterback Tyler McCombs, who completed 18 of 32 passes for 274 yards and four touchdowns.
"The only thing we talked about was running hard than we've ever run before," said running back Leon Miles, who finished with 115 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. "We had to hold the ball at eight points because it was wet out there and we didn't want to fumble.
"The offensive line did a good job of holding their blocks and we ran through the holes they made."
Buhach Colony took control of the game midway through the third quarter.
Sophomore defensive lineman Justin Stefani came up with the Thunder defense's third turnover of the game when he intercepted a McCombs' pass on a botched screen play.
Stefani set up the Buhach Colony offense at the Antelope 43-yard line with 4:52 left in the third quarter.
"It wasn't anything planned, it just kind of happened," Stefani said. "I was surprised the ball was there.
"I felt I was kind of getting worked by (Antelope lineman Daren Echeveria) most of the game. The coaches stuck with me though."
Four plays later, Miles scored on a 27-yard touchdown run around the left side to give Buhach Colony a 21-14 lead.
The Thunder defense forced a three-and-out on the Titans next possession and the Buhach offense went back to work.
The Thunder drove 56 yards on eight plays as Gold (98 rushing yards) scored on a 10-yard run for one of his three touchdowns to give Buhach Colony a 28-14 lead with 10:04 left in the game.
The Thunder will face the winner of tonight's Folsom-Vacaville game next week.
"I'm excited for a rematch either way," Miles said. "Whether it's Folsom or Vacaville it will be a rematch. I can't wait."