Newbury Park High had hoped to open the football season in its new stadium, but the $300,000 renovation of its existing facilities won’t be ready until next month.
It’s too bad.
The Panthers’ 15-14 non-league victory over Agoura Friday night at Thousand Oaks High School would have made for a great christening of the new facility.
Newbury Park came from behind twice in the second half and won on a two-point conversion with 5:40 remaining to end Agoura’s 14-game winning streak.
The game-winning points were scored on a pass from quarterback Jayson Merrill that went through the hands of at least two players before landing in the stomach of wide receiver Sean Grady.
“It was a mistake,” Grady said. “It should have been a post pattern. I saw Jayson in trouble, so I stopped and rolled with him. I waved and he saw me.”
But only for an instant.
“As soon as I threw the ball,” Merrill said, “I got hit. I was on the ground and didn’t ever really see what happened.”
Said Newbury Park Coach Ken Cook, smiling broadly: “We were very lucky.”
Newbury Park drove 63 yards after falling behind, 14-7, on Brock Hoffman’s second touchdown run with 9:27 left.
A pass-interference penalty on third-and-10 from their own 37 got the drive started, but the key play was a 26-yard pass from Merrill to Grady.
Grady caught the pass near the sideline, broke free from the grasp of Michael Eckel and was sprinting toward the end zone when he was tripped up by Donnie Rea at the eight-yard line.
Three plays later, Merrill scored on a sneak from the one to make it 14-13.
Cook at first sent out kicker Mike Kilbane, but then called time and ordered the two-point attempt.
Explained Cook: “We said, ‘Hell, we might as well go for it.’ And it worked out because somebody up there liked us.”
Until then, Agoura seemed likely to extend the winning streak it put together last season in marching to the Desert-Mountain Conference championship.
Hoffman, who carried 19 times to account for 110 of Agoura’s 163 total yards, capped a 69-yard drive on the Chargers’ first possession with a one-yard touchdown run.
The 7-0 lead held up until Newbury Park ended a 74-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run by Sean McLeod with 1:09 left in the third quarter.
Agoura then drove 78 yards to take the lead again with 9:27 left on a six -yard touchdown run by Hoffman and Robert Sam’s conversion kick.