RENO - Twice, Wooster High School was in position to seize the momentum in its Northern 4A Regional football championship showdown against McQueen on Saturday afternoon.
Both times the McQueen Lancers struck for two lightning-quick drives to turn the momentum on their way to a 28-3 victory in the Northern 4A title game before a crowd estimated at 1,500 at Wooster's Joe Mac Sellers Field.
McQueen (12-0), which has won seven Northern Nevada large schools football championships and three state titles since 1990, now moves on to host Eldorado (10-2) in the state semifinals at 7 p.m. next Friday night. Wooster (9-3) travels to Las Vegas to face Bishop Gorman in the other semifinal Saturday in a 1 p.m. contest at Valley High School.
McQueen quarterback Graham Siderius threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Myatt at the end of the first half and then Siderius scored himself on a 10-yard run early in the third period as the Lancers turned a 7-0 lead into a 21-3 cushion.
"This was really a hard fought game, exactly what you would expect from a McQueen-Wooster game," McQueen coach Ken Dalton said.
"We fought our butts off today," Wooster coach Tony Amantia said. "We just didn't make it happen when we needed to."
The Colts came close, though. Down by one touchdown with 3:29 left before halftime, they drove from midfield to the McQueen 30, only to turn the ball over when Cory Galli intercepted a pass in the end zone with 1:18 remaining.
The Lancers didn't sit on their lead. Instead, Siderius completed four straight passes over a span of 53 seconds. Myatt got open over the middle, caught a strike from Siderius and shook one tackle inside the 10 for a touchdown that made it 14-0 with 18 seconds showing on the clock.
Dalton refused to comment on the drive, however, Amantia felt the swing was a big one.
"(The interception) was my fault. It was a flag to (Derek) McNeil; he's our go-to guy, but that was just a matter of going to the well once too often. That was big right there," Amantia said. "And then they drive the field and score on us. That's just good football on McQueen's part."
Amantia's Colts began the second half with a scoring drive on their opening possession of the third quarter, capped by a 32-yard Jesse Phillips field goal.
The Lancers needed only four plays to answer. Chris Carr, McQueen's marquee senior running back who was held to minus-four yards rushing in the first half, took the ensuing kickoff 48 yards to the Wooster 49. Fullback Javier Berumen powered 10 yards up the middle and Carr swept his right end for 25 yards to the Wooster 14. Two plays later, Siderius turned inside on a keeper and scooted 10 yards for the touchdown with 6:16 left.
Siderius completed seven of 13 passes for 168 yards in the first half. His only pass in the second half was an incompletion. Mohu Otuafi caught two of those balls for 77 yards, including a 44-yard touchdown pass on McQueen's second possession.
Berumen rushed for 49 yards on eight carries and Carr wound up with 48 yards on 18 carries, including a 1-yard touchdown run with 1:24 remaining.
Wooster's Robby Stallings rushed for 86 yards on 16 carries.