Showing why he is headed for the University of Oregon, Malik Lovette scored three touchdowns in Redlands East Valley's 34-33 victory over Concord Clayton Valley on Saturday night in the
CIF state championship Division II bowl game at StubHub Center in Carson.
Lovette caught nine passes for 154 yards and one touchdown, ran for two more touchdowns and accounted for 184 total yards for the Wildcats (15-1), the Southern Section Inland Division champions.
"These guys are more than teammates, they're my brothers," Lovette said. "Big players make big plays in big games. We were matching them score for score and our coaches told us if we don't score we might as well give them the championship. It came down to who had the most heart at the end of the game."
Miles Harrison carried the ball 50 times for 323 yards and three touchdowns and added a 40-yard touchdown reception for North Coast Section champion Clayton Valley (15-1), which entered the game averaging 53.5 points and 518.9 yards per game.
"We knew from the beginning he was the guy we had to watch for," Lovette said of Harrison. "I can't believe he ran it that much. I respect him a lot."
Linebacker Jaelan Phillips made two crucial plays -- blocking an extra point and then recovering a fumble by Ugly Eagles quarterback Nate Keisel to give the Wildcats the ball at their own 8-yard line with 4:12 left.
On the ensuing drive, Lovette caught a 27-yard pass from Armando Herrera on third-and-15, allowing Redlands East Valley (15-1) to run out the clock.
"That pass was supposed to be a run but they switched their coverages and I saw their linebacker playing the run -- it's all about making the right read," said Herrera, who completed 22 of 38 passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns, including a 19-yard strike to Khris Vaughn that gave Redlands East Valley a 34-27 lead with 1:08 remaining in the third quarter.
"Jaelan is my best friend so it felt great to see him make two huge plays in the fourth quarter," Herrera said.