Dimond and West matched up so evenly Friday night in a defensive football game at Dimond Alumni Field that it was fitting the outcome was essentially decided by the kicking game in the fourth quarter.
The Lynx failed to convert a 23-yard field goal that would have given them a 10-point lead with 3:35 to play. The miss opened the door for a West comeback that included a 65-yard touchdown pass followed by a 28-yard field goal in the waning seconds.
The Eagles spoiled Dimond's homecoming with a 17-14 Cook Inlet Conference win, winning their fourth straight in improving to 4-2 overall and 4-1 in conference, and clinching one of the five CIC playoff berths with two weeks to play in the regular season.
"It was real emotional," said West quarterback Tyrone Davis. "We really wanted to get in the playoffs. We didn't want to have to fight the rest of the season."
Dimond's winning streak ended at three games, and the Lynx fell to 3-3 overall and 3-2 in the CIC. Though still in a strong position to make the postseason, playoffs are not yet assured.
"My facial expression says it, kinda feel down, pretty mad," said Dimond's J.J. Tanuvasa, who led all rushers with 51 yards. "It was a good game. Obviously, they were more prepared than us."
Dimond held West to minus-10 rushing yards and forced Davis to air it out in the second half. West's passing game found little success until Davis found Leroy Elliot for a 65-yard touchdown pass with 2:49 to play.
Elliot caught the pass near the left hash mark and broke a couple of tackles on his way down the left sideline. Davis thought Elliot was going down on first contact, but he said Elliot can surprise people with his strength. As for Elliot's speed, that's no secret.
"I saw him get that one step and I knew he was gone, 'cause he's got that track speed," Davis said. "He's an athlete, he's strong, he has everything."
Elliot's touchdown tied the game at 14-14, and Dimond took possession on its own 20 after a West kickoff.
After three running plays ran down the clock, Dimond turned the ball over on downs at its own 21 when a punt didn't go as planned. Tanuvasa was lined up as the punter and said the plan was to let the clock run down as far as possible, but the center snapped the ball early, catching Tanuvasa off guard. Tanuvasa took the ball and tried to run for a first down, but only gained a yard.
West took over at the 21 and, aided by a Dimond 10-yard penalty, kicked the winning field goal with 23.7 seconds left.
Davis said the game was nerve wracking, but when West kicker Davis Ortland lined up for the field goal, the quarterback had no doubts about the outcome.
"He's a very good kicker," Davis said. "We practice from every place on the field, the left side, the right hash, the middle, 30 yards back, 40 yards back and he's good."
West 0 7 0 10 -- 17
Dimond 7 0 7 0 -- 14
Dimond --Tanuvasa 2 run (Sedor kick), 54.2
West -- Rayford 27 pass from Davis (Ortland kick), 11:09
Dimond -- Buster 14 pass from Maga (Sedor kick), 1:17
West -- Elliot 65 pass from Davis (Ortland kick) 2:49
West -- Ortland 28 field goal, 23.7
First Downs 8 8
Rushes- yards 23-(-10) 34-79
Passing yards 164 112
Return yards 85 74
Passes 10-26-0 8-13-1
Punts 8-22.5 5-31.6
Fumbles-lost 3-0 1-0
Penalties- yards 5-40 9-75
Rushing -- West: Faamasino 9-18; Murchison 4-11; Elliot 2-3; Davis 7(-16); Team 1-(-22). Dimond: Tanuvasa 15-51; Tufaga 6-19; Coleman 3-11; Vasai 4-5; Barrett 1-1; Maga 5-(-8).
Passing -- West: Davis 10-26-0--164. Dimond: Maga 8-13-1--112.
Receiving -- West: Rayford 6-71; Elliot 2-72; Cordero 1-15; Bell 1-6. Dimond: Buster 5-41; Coleman 2-55; Parker 1-16.