Theron Conner of Riverside Arlington picked up a fumble and ran 89 yards to score the winning touchdown in the Lions’ 10-6 victory over Baldwin Park in the Southern Section Division IV championship game at Ramona High Saturday night.
In a defensive first half, Arlington took a 3-0 lead on a 34-yard field goal by Ryan Bradford with 4:02 left in the second quarter.
Baldwin Park dominated early in the second half. The Braves drove inside Arlington’s 20-yard line before Fernando Arredondo’s fumble was recovered by Conner, who ran untouched down the Baldwin Park sideline to give the Lions a 10-0 lead.
“I knew that he fumbled and it was just laying there,” Conner said. “The ref even said that he was wondering when I was going to pick it up.”
Conner’s play turned out to be crucial in the fourth quarter after Baldwin Park’s Jerry Sims returned an interception to the Arlington seven-yard line, setting up a five-yard touchdown run by Arredondo to cut the Lions’ lead to 10-6.
After a punt by Arlington, Baldwin Park threatened late in the fourth quarter with an 11-play, 56-yard drive that began on its nine-yard line. But Arlington stopped the Braves on downs to preserve the victory.
“We really held together as one unit at the end,” Conner said. “We knew that the game was on the line.”
Arlington, which finishes with an 11-3 record, won its second Southern Section title. The Lions defeated Riverside Rubidoux, 23-8, for the 1981 title. Baldwin Park finished at 10-3-1.