It was a play Kennedy High School Coach Mitch Olson had made his team run in practice as a gadget, to be pulled out when the situation was desperate.
In other words, it was just the kind of play the Fighting Irish needed when they trailed La Quinta by a point with 2:26 left at Western High School Friday night.
Most of all, the halfback-option pass requires precision. And though Kennedy’s effort had been anything but precise to that point, the Fighting Irish executed on the play that proved decisive in their 18-7 Garden Grove League victory.
With a first down at the Kennedy 41, quarterback Peter Montera took the snap and passed a few yards to his left to halfback Greg Hansell. Hansell, hesitating just enough to draw the defense, then lofted a perfect strike to a wide-open Tom Deep, who ran in untouched for a 51-yard touchdown with 2:10 left.
“We’ve used it some, but that’s the first time we’ve scored on that play,” Olson said. “It just worked perfectly, and we were able to dodge a bullet against a good team.”
The game had been a battle of defenses--and of poor execution on offense--until the fourth quarter, when all the points were scored. Kennedy ate up 8 minutes 13 seconds of time with a 13-play, 80-yard drive culminated by Ed Williams’ 2-yard run with 10:13 remaining. James Utesch hooked the extra-point attempt wide to the left.
La Quinta came back two possessions later, driving 80 yards in 6 plays as Tom Cherms scored on a 16-yard run. Matt Logan kicked the extra point to give La Quinta a 7-6 lead.
After Kennedy scored to go ahead, La Quinta could not convert a fourth down from its 4 in the final moments. It took Kennedy just one play to score; Kurtis Lindquist ran 4 yards for Kennedy’s final touchdown with 1:35 left.
In other league games:
Santiago 36, Rancho Alamitos 7--Dana Ripley passed for 2 touchdowns and ran for another to lead the Cavaliers in front of 450 at Garden Grove High School.
Ripley, a senior, completed 8 of 16 passes for 149 yards and opened the scoring with a 6-yard run in the first quarter.
He threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Nate Hosea in the second quarter and an 11-yard pass to John Peralta later in the period to give the Cavaliers a 19-0 lead.
Rancho Alamitos (1-4, 0-2) got its only points late in the first half on David Singletary’s 8-yard run, which capped a 7-play, 48-yard drive. Marcos Lopez kicked the extra point.
Santiago (3-2, 1-1) increased its lead to 29-7 on 5-yard run by Alex Ripley and a 31-yard Marco Perez field goal.
Rudy Motley closed the scoring with a 32-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the game.
Peralta led all Cavalier receivers with 3 catches for 51 yards. Ripley led the rushers with 57 yards in 10 carries.
Bolsa Grande 13, Garden Grove 6--Eric Shimomura scored 2 touchdowns to lead host Bolsa Grande.
Garden Grove took a 6-0 lead on a 89-yard run by Jerrold Johnson in the first quarter. Shimomura then scored on an 8-yard run in the second. Sonny Nguyen’s conversion gave the Matadors (2-3, 1-1) a 7-6 lead.
Shimomura scored in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard run.