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Waterford scores 31 points in final 5:29 to pull off miracle comeback over reigning champs

Joe Cortez
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With his team trailing 44-20 with 5 minutes and 29 seconds left to play in Friday' Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI playoff opener against Rio Vista, head coach Lonnie Statzer turned to one of his assistants and said, "CalPreps nailed it. How did they do that?"

CalPreps.com, who's power rankings help determine the participants in the section playoffs, predicted a 44-20 victory for Rio Vista, the defending D-VII champion. And they were almost right.

Almost.

The Wildcats proceeded to score 31 unanswered points, getting two touchdowns passes and two rushing scores from quarterback Michael Vivo, who had a hand in all seven of his team's touchdowns with his arms and legs.

"I'm dying," said Statzer after the game, who is now 16-15 in three seasons as Waterford's head coach after earning his first playoff victory. "I'm not built for these type of games. I'm too fat for all this hopping and jumping around."

The Wildcats (7-4) earned their first playoff victor since 2013 when they took to the road to beat ... get this ... Rio Vista 35-28.

"Greatest game ever," said Vivo in a text to Front Row Preps. "I'm talking some SportsCenter stuff."

Waterford will see if it can avoid history repeating itself next week when it takes on unbeaten Ripon Christian (10-0), the champion of the Southern League. When the Wildcats beat Rio Vista back in 2013, they fell the next week to undefeated Southern League champ Le Grand.

Ripon Christian defeated Waterford on Sept. 14 in the conference opener for both schools.