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Porterville edges Dinuba in final seconds

By Jeremy Berbereia

In a game that could best be described as a tale of two halves last night in Dinuba, the Porterville Panthers connected on an 11-yard touchdown pass with nine seconds on the clock to defeat the Emperors 28-27.

Porterville struck first on a one-yard keeper from quarterback Alfredo Verduzco. However, on the ensuing kickoff, Eli McCormick would take the kickoff and bolt 90 yards for touchdown, but Dinuba would miss the ensuing PAT and would trail 7-6.

Porterville extended its lead to 14-6 after one quarter, following a five yard TD run by Isaiah Jones. The senior running back would score his second TD of the game in the second quarter on a 1 yard run to put Porterville up 21-6 at the half. The tide would turn in the third quarter for Dinuba.

On fourth down, Dinuba’s Isaac Leppke would line up to punt. Once he received the snap, Leppke would run toward the Emperor sideline and throw a pass to convert the fourth down play. Dinuba would later score on the drive on a 2 yard run by Elijah Benham to put Dinuba down 21-13 after three quarters.

In the fourth quarter, Dinuba would force a Porterville punt and would once again drive down the field. Benham would score his second TD of the second half for Dinuba from 21 yards out to put Dinuba within two at 21-19.

On the ensuing conversion attempt, Leppke would find Issiah Villasenor in the endzone to help Dinuba score 15 unanswered points to tie the game at 21. Dinuba would later make it 21 unanswered points on a 30 yard TD pass from Leppke to Adrian Garza and give Dinuba their first lead at 27-21 with 3:26 left on the clock.

The missed PAT would prove to be large, as Porterville would drive down on the following possession. Facing fourth and goal from the Dinuba 11, Verduzco would find Justin Duran over the middle of the field and tie the game at 27 with 9 seconds left on the clock. Lenny Martinez would convert the PAT for the difference in the game.

Up next, Porterville will host the Bears from Buchanan in their final non-league game of the season. For Dinuba, they will travel to Tulare for the second time this season, this time to take on the undefeated Tulare Union Redskins.

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