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Narbonne outlasts Gardena Serra in double-overtime classic

Narbonne placekicker Ricky Martin lined up a potential game-winning extra point with plenty of reason to doubt himself.

The senior had missed a 23-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter and had an extra point blocked by Serra in the third quarter.

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And as he lined up to swing his right leg through one of the biggest kicks of his football life — with the score tied in double overtime — Cavaliers coach Scott Altenberg burned a timeout, giving Martin a little extra time to think about the earlier failures.

“I was kind of nervous when they called that timeout because of that first miss of the game got in my head,” Martin said.

But the 5-foot-8, 160-pounder shook off those nerves and split the uprights, giving Narbonne a thrilling 27-26 victory in the rivalry game Friday night and spoiling Serra’s home opener. Narbonne players spilled onto the field, waving green and black flags adorned with the letter “N.”

Narbonne coach Manuel Douglas said he foreshadowed the moment directly to Martin at halftime.

“What did I tell you?” Douglas said, interrupting Martin’s interview. “I told you you were going to kick the ball to win the game.”

The overtime periods featured contrasting styles by the two sides.

Tenth-ranked Serra came into the game throwing three times as much as it has run this season, and this game was no different. Doug Brumfield passed 54 times, completing 32 for 373 yards and three touchdowns.

Narbonne, meanwhile, had been struggling to move the sticks through the air and relied on Marceese Yetts to control the clock and grind for first downs. Yetts finished with 25 carries for 81 yards and the game-tying touchdown in the second overtime.

Narbonne, the No. 23-ranked team according to The Times, improved to 2-3. Douglas said the victory was huge for the psyche for the team, which aims to close out the season without another loss.

“We talked about wanting to be 3-3 after the preseason and wanting to run the table after that,” he said.

“We needed to clean some things up, and this was our next toughest game, so we’re on our way.”

The passing attack for Serra (2-2) didn’t get off to its usual quick start as Brumfield’s first pass of the game was tipped and intercepted by Narbonne linebacker Malik Horne. The Gauchos couldn’t capitalize on the turnover, however, as Martin missed the 23-yarder.

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