Alex Valladares/For The Signal
The Golden Valley found itself trailing by two scores late in the second half of the CIF Southern Section Division 6 final at Canyon High.
But four second-half turnovers were too much for the host Grizzlies to overcome in a 37-6 setback to top-seeded Bishop Diego.
Golden Valley (8-6), which reached its first section final in program history, committed five turnovers overall, including three interceptions.
“We didn’t play our best game,” Golden Valley Coach Dan Kelley said. “We made some mistakes and it cost us. We stumbled offensively. We wanted to win but regardless, I am very proud of this group of kids. They accomplished so much.”
Golden Valley’s D.J. Turner, who finished with 82 yards on 12 carries, scored on a 31-yard run to cap a five-play, 80-yard drive to cut Bishop Diego’s lead to 14-6 with 23 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
But the Cardinals (13-1) scored 23 unanswered points to extend their lead to 31 points, led by three rushing touchdowns by John Harris, who finished with 79 yards on 11 carries.
“They’re a physical football team,” Kelley said. “We played a good first half, but we sputtered offensively.”
Golden Valley had a chance to take a lead in the first quarter, but DeGabriel Floyd’s 55-yard punt return for a touchdown was nullified because of a holding penalty.
On the same drive, the Grizzlies drove to the Bishop Diego 5-yard line but Carson Farber’s 22-yard field goal was blocked.
“We believed we could come back but it just didn’t happen today,” said Ahvie Harris, who had a 34-yard reception on Golden Valley’s scoring drive. “We played tough but the turnovers killed us. We have a lot to be proud of this season and the program is headed in the right direction.”
After Bishop Diego took a 7-0 lead on a 34-yard scoring pass from Jake Engel to Isaiah Veal, Golden Valley went on a nine-play drive to the Cardinals’ 11-yard line.
But the scoring chance ended when Zack Chevalier was intercepted in the right corner of the end zone.