DOWNEY – Despite five turnovers, a touchdown called back on a penalty and a one-time 24-point deficit, the Flintridge Prep football team had its chance Saturday evening.
The CIF Southern Section Division I eight-man No. 10-ranked Rebels came up a defensive stand short of a monster comeback in a 48-42 loss to host Calvary Chapel Downey at Allen Layne Stadium.
With the defeat, Flintridge Prep dropped to 4-3, while seeing its two-game winning streak snapped.
The loss came despite some big numbers on offense as Flintridge Prep quarterback John Lytle completed 23 of 40 passes for 361 yards and six touchdowns versus one interception and one fumble.
Receiver Nick Davis (who also had a fumble recovery) hauled in five receptions for 149 yards and two touchdowns, while Ramzir Beshir caught seven passes for 103 yards and one score. Offensive lineman Jonathan Au also got into the act with three touchdown catches of 15, 15 and five yards.
“We got to see some fight from our guys and that’s something that’s been lacking from us and our side of the world,” Flintridge Prep coach Russell White said. “We fought a good, tough team and I liked that we fought back. That’s all you can really ask for. We didn’t get one more possession and the score didn’t agree with us tonight.”
Lytle connected on the final of his three scores to Au with 2:12 left to bring the Rebels within 48-42, their closest deficit since the first quarter.
Flintridge Prep was unsuccessful on an onside kick attempt, which gave Calvary Chapel (4-2) the ball at its 39-yard line with 2:12 remaining.
The Grizzlies picked up nine yards on three straight runs to exhaust the Rebels’ last two timeouts, while leaving one minute and a fourth down and one.
Perhaps there was no surprise that Calvary quarterback Jacob Escalante wanted the game’s most important carry. The senior broke through the middle of the Rebels’ defense for a game-clinching seven-yard gain.
Escalante finished rushing for 151 yards on 20 carries with three touchdowns, while he completed seven of 15 passes for 144 yards and one score.
“A lot of what happened to us was mental errors today,” Lytle said. “It really was a tale of two halves. We played a lot better in the second half. It was too little too late, but we kept fighting. There’s a lot to take away from this.”
Calvary Chapel nearly ran Flintridge Prep out of Downey, taking a 22-0 lead and an eventual 30-6 advantage with 8:44 remaining in the third quarter.
The Rebels rallied with a five-yard touchdown pass from Lytle to Au followed by a 34-yard scoring strike from Lytle to Davis. Flintridge Prep converted two two-point conversions to climb within 30-22 with 1:18 left in the third.
Just as the Rebels closed the gap, Calvary Chapel gashed them.
A six-yard touchdown run from Andrew Rangel was followed by a strip-sack of Lytle that resulted in a 30-yard fumble return touchdown from Rangel that pushed the Grizzlies’ lead to 42-22 with 11:44 left.
Lytle hit Davis on an electric 59-yard touchdown that sliced the Rebels’ deficit to 42-28, but the junior gunslinger was intercepted on his next possession.
Flintridge Prep, though, closed to within a possession on another home run — a Lytle to Beshir 51-yard touchdown — with 3:52 left that brought the score to 42-35.
Calvary Chapel didn’t wind down the clock, however, and punched back with a 56-yard keeper touchdown from Escalante that put the Grizzlies on top, 48-35, with 2:47 left.
Four of the Rebels’ five turnovers came via fumbles, while a 78-yard kickoff return for a score from Tommy Porter was nullified on a block-in-the back call.
“It always tough to lose,” Au said, “but we learned a lot tonight. We fought for each other and I’m proud of my team. We pushed ourselves further than I think we thought we could and we almost got it.”