Walnut hangs on against Campbell Hall to advance to Division 11 football semifinals

WALNUT – Walnut leaned on its defense and escaped with an 18-14 decision over Campbell Hall to advance to the CIF Southern Section Division 11 football semifinals on Friday night.

“I’ve told the boys that sometimes will is greater than skill,” head coach Eric Peralta said.

Walnut (9-3) intercepted Campbell Hall quarterback Mingus Allen four times, returning one for a touchdown. The Mustangs also made two big goal line stands in the fourth quarter to preserve the narrow victory.

Walnut will host Rim of the World, a 20-13 winner over Westminster, in next weeks semifinals.

Campbell Hall (9-3) got possession first when it recovered a muffed kickoff return from Walnut.

Demetrius Stampley intercepted the first of his two interceptions, giving Walnut a short field.  Ethan Acosta-Elizade scored two plays later, from 29 yards out for a 6-0 lead.

After trading interceptions, Stampley scored on a 67-yard burst up the middle to close out the first quarter to go up 12-0.

Acosta-Elizade then picked off Allen for the third time, this time returning it 90 yards to take a commanding 18-0 lead for the Mustangs.

The Vikings started the second half with a bang when Nikolas Marmenshteyn returned the kickoff 75 yards to close the gap to 18-7.

Marmenshteyn then intercepted Walnut’s Sal Quintanilla, which allowed Campbell Hall to drive all the way to the Walnut 4-yard line.

Walnut made the first of its two goal line stands to stop the threat

Allen was finally able to move the ball through the air with a 38-yard pass to Rio Redwood to set up a 9-yard scoring pass to Marmenshteyn to close the gap 18-14.

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“We did some things that were out of character,” Peralta said. “We forced some things. We need to clean some stuff.”

After getting the ball back when Qunitanilla attempted to pass on a fourth down, Campbell Hall once again drove deep into Walnut’s territory.

Walnut once again stopped the Vikings’ threat to seal the victory with less than two minutes to go.

“We have been solid defensively all season long,” Peralta said. “They went in there and did what they have to do.”


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