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St. Joseph's Travis Royal (10) reacts after gathering his second interception during the game against Arroyo Grande. Royal also had two interceptions against Righetti on Friday.

As the No. 16 seed in Division 2, playing at the No. 1 seed, the odds were stacked against the St. Joseph Knights.

Still, they almost came away with a stunning victory.

No. 1 Fresno Bullard had to scramble, erasing a 28-21 deficit in the final moments with a touchdown and a two-point conversion to beat No. 16 St. Joseph 29-28 in the first round of the CIF Central Section Division 2 playoffs. 

Bullard went ahead 7-0 in the first quarter before St. Joseph answered with an Anthony Moreno touchdown run on fourth down. 

The game was tied at 7 after the first quarter. St. Joseph went up 14-7 on another Moreno touchdown run early in the second quarter. 

Bullard tied the game on a late touchdown reception with about a minute left in the first half, but St. Joseph's quick-strike offense came to life, with senior receiver Travis Royal catching a deep ball and then a five-yard touchdown pass from Darian Mensah with five seconds left in the half. St. Joseph led 21-14 at half.

Bullard tied it with nine seconds left in the third quarter before a Carter Vargas touchdown run put St. Joseph ahead 28-21 with six minutes left in the game. 

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Bullard marched down the field once again, scoring with 2:52 left to play. This time, though, the home team was not aiming to tie the score once again. Instead Bullard went for two and scored on a QB sneak to go up 29-28, its first lead since 7-0.

Bullard then forced a Mensah fumble and recovered the loose ball with 1:30 left to play and was able to drain the clock and seal the win.

Bullard will host Clovis West in the quarterfinals of the Division 2 playoffs next week.

St. Joseph ends its season with a 6-5 record. The Knights claimed a share of the Mountain League title along with Paso Robles and Arroyo Grande, who each won their Division 4 playoff games this weekend.

The Mountain League went 4-for-5 in playoff games this week and Pioneer Valley will host a quarterfinal game next week despite its 0-7 record. The Panthers are the No. 3 seed in Division 4. 


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