Trailing 14-0 in the first quarter, Matt Sweeney reminded his Falcons to forget it.
"We preach short memory all the time. We told them to keep playing," said Sweeney, the co-head football coach in his third decade at Foothill High School.
The Falcons answered Sweeney's call, scoring 31 straight points in a 31-21 comeback victory over Amador Valley on Friday night.
"That effort right there was as good as any Foothill effort in the 23 years I've been a part of this thing," said Sweeney after Foothill's fifth straight victory over its cross-town rival.
Senior quarterback and Oregon State recruit Sean Mannion fueled the Foothill offense with 363 passing yards and two touchdowns in his final regular season game in the East Bay Athletic League.
Foothill (6-4, 3-4 EBAL) scored 17 points in the third quarter. A 6-yard touchdown pass from Mannion to Ryan Mende gave the Falcons their first lead, 17-14, late in the third quarter. The Falcons never trailed again.
Mende finished with six catches for 119 yards and one touchdown catch. The senior running back also added 47 rushing yards and two touchdown carries for the Falcons.
Amador Valley (8-2, 5-2 EBAL) fired out of the gate in the first quarter. Dons senior quarterback Kean Stancil opened the scoring with a 30-yard touchdown run, then completed a short pass to Garrett Worsey, who ran 79 yards for the score and a 14-point Amador lead.
But in the second quarter, the Amador offense began to cool off. Foothill cranked up the defensive pressure and Stancil struggled to find his rhythm. Stancil left the game late in the third quarter with a strained hamstring.
"We had chances to get it done but we couldn't get it done. Foothill deserves it. They played well tonight," said Amador head coach Rick Sira.
As Foothill students spilled onto the field for a post-game celebration, Sweeney praised the Falcons for answering his call to action after a sluggish start.
"They never stopped fighting," he said. "Your season keeps going if your guys step up. With this victory, we should be a top-seven [playoff seed."
The North Coast Section will announce its 16-team playoff bracket on tomorrow afternoon. Foothill and Amador are guaranteed playoff spots, based on each team's overall and league records. NCS playoff games begin this Friday.
Friday night's game was videotaped by TV30, Pleasanton's community television station, and will be broadcast several times over the weekend.