In last Friday night’s North Coast Section Division III playoff opener in Petaluma, the Tam High football team faced off against a tough, physical Casa Grande High team but held tough for an impressive 34-28 victory.

The fifth-seeded Red-tailed Hawks now heads to a semifinal matchup against No. 1 Marin Catholic at 1 p.m. next Saturday.

Tam was determined to show people that the Red-tailed Hawks deserve respect, according to the Marin IJ.

“There was some stuff written about us, about how our defense was going to get cooked,” Tam head coach Matthew LemMon said. “It gave us a little bit of a push, you know, to play well, especially our defense, really. Our defense did a great job in the third and fourth quarters when we couldn’t get it done on offense.”

The victory called for both sides of the ball to step up, as the Hawks jumped out to a 34-14 early in the third quarter but needed its defense to step up to come up with big plays to lock down the win.

“This win means a lot to these kids,” LemMon told the IJ. “Now the bigger game is next week, like against Marin Catholic, and that’s a bigger game. That’s a huge game for these kids. We thought we should have beat them last time we played each other.”

Tam quarterback Braden Young made 10 of 28 passes for 331 yards, but was bit by a pick-six. The Hawks’ Andrew Gordon caught four passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns, while Lachlan Hindley caught two big passes for 95 yards and a touchdown.

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