Harper Leads San Fernando to Victory Over Gardena
With the scoreboard clock broken, the San Fernando High Tigers didn’t really know how much time was left in the fourth quarter of their opening-round playoff game against Gardena Friday night.
But they didn’t need a clock to tell them time was running out on their season.
The Tigers came into the game with all the numbers in their favor. They were the Valley 4-A League champions and won seven of nine games this season, six of their last seven and five in a row.
Gardena, on the other hand, was 4-5 and had finished fourth in the Pacific League with a 2-3 mark.
But the only numbers that counted were the ones that showed Gardena leading, 10-7, late in the fourth quarter. Starting at their 38, the Tigers were able to put together a march through the bitter cold of McDonald Stadium, which climaxed with a three-yard scoring run by Lance Harper with 1:24 left, to enable San Fernando to pull out a 13-10 victory.
Harper finished as the game’s leading ballcarrier with 118 yards on 25 carries. But just as big a carry came from Clarence Bradley, who opened the final drive with a 17-yard run, which had an additional 15 yards tacked on when the Mohicans were hit with a facemask penalty.
Still, it looked pretty bleak when San Fernando quarterback Dwayne Calloway was sacked several plays later, pushing the Tigers from the Gardena 32 back to the 41.
But Calloway came right back, hitting who else but Harper over the middle with a pass. The Tiger running back got to the Gardena 23 before being drive out of bounds. That left San Fernando a yard short of a first down with third down coming up.
The next play was an incomplete pass.
Fourth down and the season’s end a yard away. But again, Harper came through. Running up the middle he appeared to be stopped, but broke through for an eight-yard gain. he picked up 12 more yards on the next play to set up the winning touchdown. The second time it had the ball, San Fernando put together its only impressive drive until the closing minutes. Starting at their 28, the Tigers took 15 plays and most of the first quarter to drive down the field, the score coming on a one-yard plunge by Calloway with just 44 seconds left in the period.
Alfonso Ontiveros’s PAT proved to be the final point of the half. Gardena’s first-half points came on a 32-yard field goal in the second quarter by John Mantamoros.
When it came to lost opportunities, however, both sides had a couple that might cause their coaches to wince at the game films.
San Fernando gave the ball away once on a Calloway interception and later on a Charles Thomas fumble.
A Gardena field goal came after the Mohicans were able to advance only five yards following their second-quarter interception.
Late in that quarter, Gardena fumbled inside the San Fernando 10.
In the third period, the Mohicans got their final touchdown on a 34-yard run by Mario Mottley, who finished with 68 yards on 12 carries.
Matamoros, the Gardena quarterback, completed five of 17 passes for 108 yards. His leading receiver was Pee Wee Smith, who caught four for 76 yards.