PETALUMA – The Egg-On-Your-Face-Bowl reverted back Saturday to its much preferred and much beloved initial template: The Egg Bowl. We knew this to be true by what happened with eight minutes left in the second quarter.
Petaluma running back Jacob Rollstin ran for 3 yards to the Casa Grande 23. As yardage accomplished, it was marginal. What followed, however, was not inconsequential. Seeking to get up from the dog pile, Rollstin took the first hand offered to him. It was from Casa’s Kenny Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald pulled Rollstin to his feet.
This city waited six years for that.
That’s a long time to hold your breath.
Felt like hands reaching across the ocean, actually. Yes, the gap once appeared to be so oceanic. The Egg Bowl was a street brawl in 2011. The city was embarrassed. It should have been. Nineteen penalties were called, nine of then personal fouls. A player was ejected. Racial epithets were hurled. The Egg Bowl was kicked to the curb. Could Petaluma and Casa Grande ever co-exist on a football field again?
They can and Saturday they did. True, it wasn’t perfect. One personal foul was called when a Casa player body slammed a Petaluma player to the ground in the fourth quarter. The Casa player immediately apologized. Order didn’t need to be restored. No one lost his mind. Eight other total penalties, all of them of the innocuous variety. Jumping offsides. Stuff like that.
Notice how I still haven’t mentioned the score of the 38th Egg Bowl. Usually that would be a tragic error of omission. In this case, however, the score amplifies the larger point — this Egg Bowl didn’t devolve into a street fight even when the game itself provided more than enough emotion for its combatants to lose their marbles.
Frustration, luck, anxiety and sudden shifts in momentum made whoever watched it or played in it uneasy. Consider, for example, how Casa scored the touchdown in the third quarter that tied the game. Casa had a fourth and 16 on Petaluma’s 36. As a high percentage play, to make a first down, better you try the lottery.
Casa quarterback Jance Offerman threw it down the Petaluma sideline. Casa wide receiver Isaiah Cappelen was right there, on stride, ready. Petaluma free safety Trey Davis was right there to knock it down.
Except Davis knocked it up and behind him. Cappelen was still in stride. The deflection sailed right to him. Cappelen had a halter step, just to make sure he had possession, and then sprinted down the sideline untouched for the touchdown. With 5:32 left in the third quarter, the game was tied at 14.
Yes, absolutely, that could have tweaked the blood pressure of Petaluma.
Then again, Casa might have become a little cranky in the fourth quarter when it was driving to tie the score. The Gauchos had a second and seven at the Petaluma 21.
“They had been running that slant (pass) play all game long,” said Rollstin, now a defensive back.
“So I planted myself between the quarterback and the receiver.”
Poaching they call it. Interception they saw it. Rollstin caught it. The drive that looked inevitable to the end zone ended. The groan from the Casa sideline was louder than any of their cheers.