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Live Oak overcomes Trinity in SVL battle
QB Acosta scores five touchdowns
Romario Acosta vividly remembers how Live Oak High's football season ended in 2011.
On a cold Thursday night in November 2011, the Lions' senior quarterback felt the full force of the Trinity Wolves in a 42-8 rout at home, falling in the first round of the Northern Section Division III playoffs.
In that loss, he rushed for 4 yards on one carry and was harassed all night by Trinity, throwing one touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter when the game was well out of hand.
Fast forward to Friday night, and although it wasn't a playoff game, the Lions had to find a way to win to salvage a potential postseason berth.
This time, Acosta wasn't going to be denied.
The senior southpaw, and reigning A-D All-Area quarterback, threw four touchdown passes and ran for another as Live Oak held off Trinity on homecoming night with a 35-27 Sacramento Valley League victory, snapping a two-game losing streak.
Live Oak (5-2, 1-1) moved up to Division II this season for the playoffs after several years at the D-III level. Every other team in the SVL is a D-III school, meaning there is no way for the Lions to boost their strength of schedule. And with a loss to D-III Willows in the SVL opener on Oct. 5, the Lions will need to win out the rest of the season to potentially claim a spot in the eight-team Division-II bracket.
"This was our make-or-break game right here," Acosta said. "We came out fired up from the get-go. We knew what was on the line."
With the score tied 21-21 at halftime, Acosta drove the Lions 58 yards on their opening possession of the third quarter, culminating in a 13-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Cody Herbert.
The Lions' defense forced Trinity to punt on its next possession before Acosta took over again. He drove Live Oak 70 yards, completing three of his four passes on the drive for 51 yards, including a 23-yard scoring strike to Jose Medina, hitting him in stride down the sideline.
Live Oak's defense didn't allow Trinity to do much of anything over the final 24 minutes as the Wolves could only muster a rushing touchdown as time expired.
Defensively, Acosta made two interceptions in the second half at free safety.
"They came in and beat us on our home turf last year," Acosta said. "We had to get a little bit of revenge."
Lions cornerback Andrew Lopez ignited the homecoming crowd with an interception (he also had one in the second half) on Trinity's first possession of the game. Live Oak took over and drove 45 yards with Acosta picking up 23 of those on the ground, including his 1-yard scoring plunge.
Trinity responded with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Higgins to Erik Watson to take a 7-6 lead. Acosta put the Lions back on top, with his 4-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Pamma in the second quarter.
The Wolves answered back with Tony Adair's 2-yard run and extended the lead to 21-13 when Higgins found Watson again right before halftime.
Acosta worked some more magic though, driving the Lions 70 yards and completing three of four passes for 66 yards. He hooked up with Tyler Raymond for a 4-yard score and added a 2-point conversion pass to Lopez, who made a nice diving snag, to knot the score at 21-21 at the intermission.
Acosta completed 11 of his 18 passes for 156 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 123 yards on 16 carries and a score to go with two picks on defense.
Live Oak continues its playoff push next Friday at Mt. Shasta.
"All week we'd been talking about how we have to win out to have a shot to make the playoffs in D-II," Johnson said. "Ultimately right now we're just trying to win a league title. The way we played tonight was great.
"We're rolling in the direction we need to right now."