Zach Congalton of Etiwanda runs 80 yards for a touchdown during the Eagles' semifinal playoff game.  (Contributed photo by Kevin N. Keith)

Etiwanda High School's football players gave their fans a lot of thrills on Nov. 19, but in the end the Eagles were stuck with a heartbreaking loss.

In a wildly exciting CIF semifinal playoff game, Serra was able to escape with a 34-27 overtime victory over the previously undefeated Eagles at the Etiwanda field.

The game will be remembered by many for the way Etiwanda, trailing 27-20 with two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, drove downfield to acquire the tying touchdown.

Quarterback Zach Congalton completed key passes of 13 yards to Norion Espadron and 21 yards to Jaden Landrum, and then after several penalties, Congalton fired a 12-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Landrum with just 5.1 seconds left in regulation, tying the score at 27-27.

However, the Eagles could not maintain that momentum in the overtime session, and Serra marched in for the winning TD.

Etiwanda, which saw its record drop to 12-1, seemed to be in control of the Division 3 game in the first half.

In the opening minutes, cornerback Jayden Byrd intercepted a Serra pass and sped 40 yards for a touchdown.

Then in the second period, Saipeti Maiava Jr. ran into paydirt from 10 yards out, giving the Eagles a 14-0 halftime lead.

Serra tied the score at 14-14 in the fourth quarter before Etiwanda pulled off a huge play.

From his own 20-yard line, Congalton retrieved an errant center snap, dodged an onrushing defender, picked up a great downfield block, and raced 80 yards for a touchdown for a 20-14 advantage.

But then the tide turned against the Eagles again.  The PAT kick was blocked, the ensuing kickoff was returned for a TD, and Serra cashed in another six points a few minutes later to go up, 27-20, setting the stage for the Eagles' dramatic drive to force OT.

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