East County Sports

Klingerman’s late pick-six wins game for Wolf Pack




EastCountySports.com staff report


ESCONDIDO – West Hills senior Kole Klingerman returned an interception 43 yards for a touchdown with 1:15 remaining in the game as the Wolf Pack earned a big 14-7 nonleague win over Escondido at historic “Chick” Embery Field at Wilson Stadium.

West Hills recorded three interceptions, two by Klingerman, and thwarted the Cougars several times in the red zone.

The Wolf Pack scored on a fourth-and-goal carry early in the first quarter when Ryan Nicholas finally cashed in on a big play, catching a three-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Gerardo Hernandez.

Junior Brendan Green, of the Wolf Pack, had a 69-yard run on the second play of the game to set up West Hills at the 1. Greene looked speedy down the sidelines just a couple of weeks after being sidelined with an injury.

The Cougars drove inside the West Hills 20 three times in the first half.

On one of the drives, the Cougars got down to the 1 where they ran a sneak. After the initial stuff by the Pack, the quarterback pitched it back to his running back, but the Pack brought him down, too.

“They had a couple of good drives offensively,” West Hills coach Casey Ash said. “We just kind of hung in there defensively and showed some great perseverance.”

Escondido tied the game a 7-all on a six-yard run which was set up by an 80-yard carry.

In the fourth quarter, West Hills was backed up inside its own 5 when Klingerman boomed a punt that was touched by the Cougars and recovered by the Wolf Pack at the Escondido 30.

West Hills attempted a field goal but it was blocked.

Moments later, Klingerman made his great read on a pass and stepped in front of it for a race to the end zone.

Escondido picked up a first down and was down to 30 seconds left in the game when a long pass was intercepted by Greene to seal the game.

“This is one of the hardest playing teams I’ve ever coached,” Ash said. “We have seven or eight kids who are on the field every snap of the game.

West Hills will go into its final two games of the season with a chance to earn a likely share of the Grossmont Hills League championship with wins over comparable opponents Mount Miguel and Monte Vista. Both games figure to be as competitive as they are important.

“To earn our way into the opportunity to win a league championship, we’re happy to be playing important games at this time of the year,” Ash said.

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