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Big-play Maher and Co. prove Analy's mettle

MORAGA -- Give them something to remember, that's what Analy did Friday night. They didn't back into the victory, didn't get lucky all of a sudden, or have the other team give it to them. The Analy Tigers did it the way champions do. They answered every challenge. They never wilted. They never lost direction or focus. They played so well, were so clutch, the boys played like men out there. Man up, they did.

The Tigers have reached the NCS semifinals with a game that will live long after this season. The memory of all it all — the blocked PAT, The Catch by Aaron Maher, the Kerr Johnson Jr. Redemption, I could go on and on — will make this 38-34 victory required reading by anyone who wants to know anything about Analy sports. Yes, the game was that significant, for this is how a 12-0 team plays, for this is how every coach wishes a 12-0 team plays.

"Coach always says big-time players make big-time plays in big-time game," Maher said. "That's what we did tonight. It feels surreal."

Surreal? Oh yes. Campolindo is the defending NCS Division 3 champion. The Cougars are a NCS given, always in the playoffs. Analy, meanwhile, is 1-7 in its last eight playoffs. The Tigers had baggage. Not anymore. They chucked that sucker away. That 1-7 record might as well belong to another school after Friday night.

"It's still a dream right now," said Maher, who had seven catches for 198 yards and two touchdowns, "and it'll probably stay a dream tonight. But then when I wake up tomorrow it'll be reality."

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