Friday night marked the Elsinore Tigers second home playoff game in a row following the team's huge 55-7 win over Colton last week.
But it was not meant to be: Taking on Rancho Verde Moreno Valley, the Tigers fell, 42-40.
With the win, the Mustangs earned the right to advance in the CIF-Southern Section Central Division playoffs.
Both teams entered Friday's contest with similar records. Coach Tony Peralta’s Tigers were 4-1 in Sunbelt League play (8-3 overall). Coach Pete Duffy’s Mustangs were 5-1 in Inland Valley League action (8-3 overall).
The two teams played each other back on Aug. 24 at Rancho Verde, with the Tigers surging in the fourth quarter with 22 points to defeat the Mustangs, 46-22.
Midway through Friday’s third quarter, Elsinore's Allan Stubbs found the end zone from 28 yards out on a running play. He capped that off with a two-point conversion pass from Tommy Wilson to make it 42-23.
Five minutes later, Wilson found Ryan Laverdiere open from eight yards out. Liking the two-point option, Coach Peralta used the same combo of Wilson-to-Stubbs to make it 42-31.
That is how the third quarter ended.
With about five minutes left in the game, the Tigers would get into the red zone but have to settle for a 12-yard field goal by Christian Sandoval, making the score 42-34.
Elsinore would get one more chance with less than a minute on the clock when Wilson connected with Anthony Sevilla from seven yards out to bring the team within two points.
There was little doubt what the Tiger’s coaching staff would do. The two-point conversion this time, however, did not work and the home team would settle for an oh-so-close two-point loss to finish off the season.
Next up for Rancho Verde is a semi-final game versus Paloma Valley, Nov. 23. Paloma Valley won their quarterfinal playoff game Friday, 56-14 over Colony.
In other local sports news, the Temescal Canyon Titans football team lost Friday's playoff game against Kaiser Fontana by a score of 14-10.