"We'd been practicing penalty kicks [Monday]. You never know when they will play a role [in a match]. You know that you have to be prepared, just in case."

7 St. Francis soccer defeats Upland, 4-3, Feb. 16

In six minutes, the Golden Knights' first round CIF Division I playoff game took a drastic turn in their favor.

St. Francis trailed the host Highlanders by two after it gave up two first-half goals, but took a lead, 3-2, with 24 minutes remaining.

Austin Frank sparked the rally with a goal in the 29th minute, quickly after he returned to action in the second half after sitting out 30 minutes of the first with a foot injury.

Five minutes later, St. Francis got an equalizing goal from Billy McCreary on a cross from Matt Laterza. McCreary gave the Knights their first lead of the game after Eric Bocanegra played a ball up high that the Upland goalie went up for but dropped with McCreary pressuring, which allowed the senior forward to score on an open net.

Brookes Treidler provided the winner for St. Francis on a deep throw-in from Derek Bell after the Highlanders knotted the score on a corner kick.

"It's not a good feeling [being down by two goals], but they say the most dangerous lead in soccer is 2-0, because you score once and then the momentum changes. That's really what happened," Treidler said. "That's one of the most exciting things in soccer is to score that many goals like that. We knew we had four or five goals in the second half in us and that's exactly what happened."

8 Crescenta Valley boys' soccer defeats El Rancho, 3-0, March 2

It took three one-goal victories and another on penalty kicks for the Falcons to reach the CIF championship.

They finally put some distance between themselves and their opposition in the CIF final match with the Dons, who figured to be their greatest challenge coming into the game as the tournament's top seed and ranked fifth nationally by ESPN High School with one loss in their previous 34 games.

Berger broke the scoreless tie with a 40-yard strike in the 28th minute. Eric Keshishian gave CV a two-goal lead four minutes later when he scored on a throw-in from Trejo. Atanackovic scored in the 75th minute to put the game out of doubt.

The real story of the game was the Falcons defense, which shut out an El Rancho squad that was averaging 3.54 goals a game. Ruiz made five saves, as the Dons were held to one shot on goal in the first half.

It was also revenge for Crescenta Valley, which had its 2011 CIF title hopes ended at the hands of El Rancho in the quarterfinals by a score of 3-1.

"It just makes it that much better," Berger said. "They knocked us out last year and for us to beat them in the final with a shutout, it's just unbelievable."

9 Renaissance Academy boys' basketball defeats California Lutheran, 67-45, March 3

There was no team that could hang with the Wildcats in the CIF Division VI playoffs, not even the No. 3 seed C-Hawks in the championship.

Top-seeded Renaissance, which had averaged wins by 25 points coming into the title game, got big performances from its two stars, Jessy Cantinol and Vince De Guzman, who scored 19 and 18 points, respectively.

The Wildcats turned a three-point first quarter lead to 10 at halftime, 30-20. They put the game out of doubt by forcing nine of 18 Cal Lutheran turnovers in the second half and scoring seven unanswered buckets to start the final frame for a 56-33 advantage.

It delivered Renaissance and its coach, Sid Cooke, their first CIF championship.

"We knew we had to do it for [Cooke] and all he did for us these four years," said Cantinol, who finished with nine rebounds, four assists, three steals and shut down Cal Lutheran's best player, 6-foot-8 center Ryan Smith (13 points).

10 Glendale defeats Hoover, 55-49, Nov. 10, 2011

With playoffs and winning records out of the question for both squads, there was nothing for the Nitros and Tornadoes to play for than bragging rights in the annual "Battle for the Victory Bell" between the cross-town and Pacific League rivals.

That was more than enough for Glendale and Hoover running backs Alex Yoon and Luke Tabayoyong, respectively. Yoon scampered for 285 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries, while Tabayoyong tallied 155 yards and three scores — of 73, four and five yards — in 24 rush attempts in front of a packed crowd.

Hoover quarterback Alex Rangel also completed 19 of 30 passes for 313 yards, but still saw Glendale take a 48-33-2 lead in the annual battle for the bell.

Faced with a 49-21 deficit at the end of the third quarter, Hoover rallied for four touchdowns — three from Rangel — in the final frame to take the season finale down to the wire.

Rangel hit Donovan Malone with a 16-yard touchdown pass with 11:34 left. He brought the Tornadoes within 13, 55-42, with a pair of one-yard touchdown runs with 8:48 and 4:03 remaining in the game. Tabayoyong finished the scoring with a five-yard touchdown run with 3:31 to go.

Yoon was the difference in the game, coming back from an ankle injury to score on runs of 13, 32 and 44 yards.

"We were going to give [Yoon] the ball whether we won or lost," Glendale Coach Alan Eberhart said. "Our guys wanted this game very badly and they deserved it."