When his team needed him most, James Rossum came through.
The senior linebacker made a juggling interception at the Huntington Park 12-yard line with 43 seconds remaining and the Spartans proceeded to run out the clock for an 18-14 victory over Reseda Cleveland in the CIF City Section Division 2 championship game Saturday afternoon at El Camino College.
Huntington Park needed six minutes to drive 92 yards in 13 plays for the decisive score, which came on an eight-yard touchdown toss from Victor Molina to Julio Velasquez with 2:09 left.
Molina completed nine of 19 attempts for 165 yards, Bey'Jon Lee rushed 15 times for 112 yards and Rossum gained 42 yards in 11 carries for Huntington Park, which captured its first City title since 1959.
Lee capped a 10-play, 65-yard drive with a four-yard run to give the second-seeded Spartans (11-3) a 6-0 lead late in the first quarter. Lee was stopped six inches short of the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line with 5:55 left in the second quarter.
Raymond Rios caught a tipped ball from Molina for a 28-yard touchdown to increase Huntington Park's lead to 12-0 with 15 seconds left in the first half.
The fourth-seeded Cavaliers (8-6), seeking their first section crown, marched 65 yards in nine plays to begin the second half, scoring on a four-yard run by Jakobe Harvey to pull within 12-7.
Steven Shin intercepted a pass at Cleveland's 11 and the Cavaliers drove 89 yards in nine plays, taking a 14-12 lead on Harvey's four-yard run with 8:14 left.
Harvey rushed for 83 yards in 12 carries and Isaac Garcia added 76 yards in 12 carries. Quarterback Takashi Drayton did not complete a pass in the first half and finished four for 13 for 50 yards and two interceptions.
Marshall 61, Verdugo Hills 26: Senior quarterback Daniel Soto threw five touchdown passes — four to Johnny Hernandez-Jones — to lead the Barristers to victory.
Verdugo Hills struck first on a nine-yard touchdown run by Patrick Moore, but Rynee Rangel returned the ensuing kickoff 50 yards and on the next play Soto found Hernandez-Jones for a 35-yard score to tie the game.
A 55-yard interception return by Pablo Garcia gave the second-seeded Barristers (11-3) the lead one minute later. Hernandez-Jones caught a one-yard touchdown pass and Soto ran for the two-point conversion to make it 21-6 late in the first quarter.
Hernandez-Jones caught a seven-yard touchdown pass from Soto midway through the second quarter and linebacker Gary Chew returned a fumble 48 yards to increase the lead to 33-6 before halftime.
Teddy Ibarra caught a 91-yard scoring pass from Mason Van Kempen that pulled the fifth-seeded Dons (8-6) within 20 points to begin the third quarter, but Marshall answered with an 83-yard drive capped by Soto's nine-yard pass to Hernandez-Jones. Soto tossed a 27-yard strike to Rangel for his 36th touchdown pass of the year on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Van Kempen threw his 35th touchdown pass of the season, a five-yarder to Charlie Rocca, midway through the third quarter, but Rangel returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards to give the Barristers a 47-19 lead.
Carlos Medina's 85-yard interception return and Soto's two-point conversion pass to Malcolm Martin made it 61-19 early in the fourth quarter.