SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - El Modena traveled back to Orange with some extra baggage, a loss.
Bishop Diego knocked off previously undefeated El Modena 31-21 in a hard-fought, physical CIF-Southern Section Division 3 quarterfinal game.
The Cardinals recovered from a stunning start as Vanguards sophomore quarterback Xzavior Guess ripped off a 68-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage showing off his top-end speed to race down the sidelines.
But the Cardinals responded with a touchdown drive on their first possession of the game, capped off by an 8-yard touchdown run by senior star Qu'ran Gossett as he finished off the run with a hard hit on Alex Luna.
Bishop Diego took the lead on their next possession.
On 3rd and 20 AJ Vele delivered a perfect pass to Bryan Trejo in the back corner of the end zone for a 35 yard-touchdown to give the Cards a 14-7 advantage after one quarter.
El Modena tied the game early in the second quarter on a short touchdown run by Guess who made a quick cut between two defenders to tie it at 14.
But the Cardinals offense was humming in the first half.
Junior Misa Paiau ripped off a 45-yard run up the middle deep in Vanguards territory.
Gossett scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to put Bishop back in front 21-14.
It was a wild close to the first half as there were three turnovers in the last few minutes.
With El Modena deep in Bishop territory, Gossett punched the ball away from Guess on a sack.
Garo Nahabedian scooped up the fumble and raced the other way before Guess tracked him down near the redzone.
Vele threw a 17-yard touchdown to Liam Flood with 7.2 seconds left in the half, Bishop took a 28-14 lead into the locker room.
Points were at a premium in the second half.
Guess brought El Modena within 28-21 with his third touchdown run of the game, a 6-yard score mid-third quarter.
On the first play of the fourth quarter Bryan Trejo booted a 30-yard field goal to make it 31-21.
El Modena (11-1) tried a short field goal attempt but Misa Paiau capped off his big night by blocking the kick.
A few minutes later Bishop Diego (9-3) was celebrating a trip to the CIF-SS Division 3 semifinals.
They will play at Upland on Friday, November 18.