A 7-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jack Manu to wide receiver Jean Boyd in overtime capped Paramount High School’s second-half comeback and led the Panthers to a 31-24 victory over Santa Ana High School in the quarterfinals of the Southern Section Division III playoffs Friday night at Tustin High School’s Northrup Field.
In its half of the overtime series, Santa Ana had a chance to tie, but senior running back Estrus Crayton was stopped on fourth down at the Paramount 3-yard line. California tie-breaking rules allow each team four plays in overtime to score from the opponent’s 10.
The Pirates, 10-1 and the second-place team in the San Gabriel Valley League, scored 3 touchdowns in the second half to advance to the semifinals against Mission Viejo next Friday. Manu completed 11 of 14 passes for 226 yards, including 2 touchdowns.
“We decided to just run right at them in the second half,” Paramount Coach Ken Sutch said. “Our offensive line took it to them.”
Santa Ana got started quickly and in the first quarter looked as if it might win in a rout. Crayton took the opening kickoff from his goal line 56 yards to the Paramount 44. Seven plays later, junior tailback Garner Hicks swept right and, behind a block by fullback Fred Contreras, scored from the 10. The Saints made it 10-0 with 4:51 left in the first quarter on a 22-yard field goal by Gustavo Plasencia.
After Paramount’s Ignacio Villasenor’s 35-yard field goal made it 10-3, Santa Ana scored again, this time on a 13-yard pass from quarterback Jesse Rosas to junior flanker Philip Oviedo with 2:35 left in the half.
Paramount took the lead for the first time, 24-17, on a 2-yard sneak by Manu with 10:06 left. But the Saints came back. Santa Ana’s Gilbert Marquez and Damon Bland sacked Manu when the Pirates elected to go for it on fourth and 10 at the Saints’ 28 with 6:56 left. Nine plays later, Crayton scored from 17 yards out.