SAN MARINO — What was a close, hotly-contest nonleague football game for 42 minutes bordered on a blowout six minutes later.
That’s because the San Marino High football team scored two touchdowns over the final 5 minutes and 20 seconds of Friday’s home game and pulled away from Crescenta Valley for a 27-7 win.
The victory marks the second year in a row the Titans (2-0) have started off with consecutive season-opening triumphs in the two-year run of head coach Mike Hobbie.
“Our kids fought their [butts] off, competed every play and weren’t intimidated,” Hobbie said. “They did what they had to do. They were fighters and competitors.”
The thinking going into Friday’s affair was that San Marino, which rushed for over 300 yards in a victory last week at Eagle Rock, would struggle on the ground against the Falcons’ big and quick defensive line.
Yet, the game-breaking play came against that line when San Marino’s offensive front parted a gaping hole for quarterback Matt Wofford, who raced untouched for a deflating 70-yard touchdown on a quarterback draw.
The score put the Titans ahead, 20-7, with 5:20 remaining.
“We went in at halftime and drew that play up and it went perfectly,” said Wofford, who rushed 18 times out of the option for 149 yards and two touchdowns. “You have to credit our linemen, they opened up a huge hole for me.”
San Marino’s score went unanswered as Crescenta Valley (1-1) took over at its 28, but only drove 25 yards before turning the ball over on downs at the Titans’ 45 with 2:29 left.
The Titans took the short field and scored six plays later on an 11-yard power run from fullback Nick Gott with 19 seconds left that capped the scoring.
“From the middle of the second quarter to the middle of the fourth quarter, the defense shut down San Marino,” Crescenta Valley Coach Paul Schilling said. “But on our two most important drives, we fell apart and that’s what we’ll work on.”
Wofford’s 70-yard touchdown came 12 seconds after the Falcons rallied within a score on a brilliant 31-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Ben Rees (seven for 12 for 80 yards) to receiver Jack Lutynski (six receptions for 82 yards).
The touchdown marked the Falcons’ most effective drive, in which they marched 80 yards on nine plays and scored after Wofford missed wide right on a 37-yard field goal with 9:25 left in the fourth.
Overall, Wofford completed 13 of 23 passes for 162 yards with two interceptions, the second coming from Jeff Saengsri at 7:56 in the third.
San Marino dominated a first half in which it led, 13-0, at the break.
The Titans won the first-down battle, 12-3, and tallied the lone touchdown when Wofford scored from nine yards on a delayed keeper with 3:15 remaining.
Perhaps the most electrifying play of the first half came on the touchdown drive when Wofford connected on a 43-yard bomb to receiver Andrew Cordova.
After the touchdown and a punt from Crescenta Valley, the Titans received possession again at their 42 with 1:25 left, which ultimately led to a 47-yard field goal from Wofford with 20 seconds left that gave the Titans their 13-0 lead.
Crescenta Valley’s bright spot came with 9:39 left in the second when defensive lineman Daniel Dean deflected a pass from Wofford that was intercepted by teammate Paul Gamez.