Rio takes down El Camino after miracle heave


Photo By Josh Zezzo

Savion Ponce expertly escapes a tackle from an El Camino defender.

Josh Zezzo, Mirada Staff

Rio Americano took on enemy El Camino in a crowded Stadium at Del Campo on Saturday, Nov. 2 . Emotions were high as this would be the last game the seniors from both teams would play, but nobody was expecting kind of finish that was in store. 

 El Camino started the game with the ball, but the scoring started after a failed first drive for both teams. 

The Eagles struck first with a 24-yard field goal, giving them a 3-0 lead early in the first quarter.

El Camino scratched and clawed at this game until the end, but Rio’s senior quarterback Mitchell Dixon came to play on his final high school game throwing for 316 yards, five touchdowns and allowing only one interception.

Rio answered quickly when Dixon connected for a 28-yard touchdown giving them a 7-3 lead in the first quarter.

An Eagles costly fumble in the first quarter would give Rio the opening to start to pull away.

The next play Dixon found familiar target Sophomore Michael Rossi for a 30-yard touchdown giving Rio a comfortable 14-3 lead to cap off the first quarter.

El Camino fumbled again but their defense was able to stop Rio and get their offense the ball back.

Within a minute of that stop, they got into the end zone with a 15-yard run pulling them back within 4 late in the second.

The Rio defense kept the Eagles out of the end zone and held them at 10 points until the fourth quarter.

Two big yardage throws by Dixon to Rossi, would lead to a 3-yard touchdown pass from Dixon to senior Tanner Kristianson, but a failed two-point conversion kept the score at 20-10.

El Camino fumbled for the third time but Rio wasn’t able to capitalize before the half came to a close.

When the half broke Rio scored again on a 20-yard pass from Dixon, and Rio had a 27-10 lead.

El Camino was able to get their offense going again after an interception saving touchdown at their own 4-yard line. 

The El Camino offense scored 21 unanswered points and the Rio defense came to a sudden halt not able to move the ball down the field. The Eagles took a 31-27 lead with one minute left in the game.  

Rio started with the ball on their own 29 yard line. The pass fell incomplete and Rio struggled to move the ball down the field. The crowd started to lose hope and many people left early, however untimely El Camino penalties pushed Rio down the field to El Camino ́s 45 yard line.

“I knew the timing of the game, I knew we only had five seconds so it was probably the last play of the game.” said Dixon.

Mitchell Dixon had just enough time to put the team on his back for one final play to end the season and the senior’s high school career. 

Dixon rolled out, “The nose tackle came through pretty much untouched, so I backed up and spun out but nothing was open, so I just turned and threw it as high and as far as I could, luckily Michael Rossi came down with it.” said Dixon

Rio came away with the win 33-31 after the miracle Hail Mary, affectionately dubbed “Hail Mitchell” by Mr. Paulus.