Dramatic wins over cross-town rivals make for great yarns years later. Dad hoists his little boy onto a knee and says something like: Son, your pappa was awesome. I threw for TDs, I ran for TDs, I kicked PATs. I even kicked a field goal . . . .
Shaun Christensen, record-holding quarterback and father all at age 17, may pull the routine someday with 3-week-old son Bradley Jay. But he won't be exaggerating.
During Royal High's 31-18 victory over Simi Valley on Saturday before a crowd of 5,000--including Bradley Jay and Shaun's wife Rozanne--Christensen put on a memorable show.
A three-year starter who had never won a Marmonte League game--let alone defeat a rival--he threw three touchdown passes, ran for another, caught a pass for a two-point conversion and kicked a field goal and two PATs.
Christensen set a school record by passing for 358 yards and completed 20 of 31 passes. He hit Manny Escobar 10 times for 193 yards and Joe Summers seven times for 103 yards. All this against a Simi Valley defense, playing at home, that had allowed only 35 points in four games.
"My son was here today even though he can't understand yet," Christensen said. "And someday he'll be playing here. I about cried when the gun sounded. It just meant so much."
Simi Valley (3-2 overall, 1-1 in league) had beaten Royal the past two years, which didn't mean much to Pioneer quarterback Todd Studer. The senior moved to Simi Valley before this season.
"They are a good team," said Studer, who completed 8 of 19 passes for 179 yards but threw three second-half interceptions. "I don't know how they lost so many games."
Royal (2-3, 1-1) went ahead to stay, 23-18, when Christensen lofted a 19-yard scoring strike to Escobar down the sideline with less than a minute to go in the third quarter. A 10-play drive resulted in Royal's last touchdown with two minutes left in the game.
Trailing at the half, 9-7, Simi Valley took the third-quarter kickoff and marched 62 yards on six plays to score. Studer, who made most of his passes while running from defenders, scampered 21 yards on a broken play for the touchdown.
Royal scored quickly on three plays and a penalty, however, to regain the lead, 16-15. Christensen hit Escobar for 32 yards on the first play and Summers for 12 and the touchdown.
Both offenses were really revving by this point and Simi Valley moved to the 2-yard line in a matter of minutes. After a lengthy chase, Studer was sacked for a 15-yard loss, however, and the Pioneers had to settle for a 34-yard field goal by Andrew Mazzare and an 18-15 lead.
Royal scored first on Christensen's 41-yard field goal early in the second quarter and drove 90 yards on 13 plays to pad the lead to 9-0 with 1:20 left in the half. Simi Valley charged back, however, moving 87 yards on six plays to score with no time remaining on a 24 yard pass from Studer to sophomore Lamont Harris.