A frosty breeze figured to put a big chill on Hart High’s potent passing attack Friday night at Chaminade.
And while quarterback Ryan Connors passed for a semi-impressive 242 yards and one touchdown, the Indians’ offense needed a jump start through most of the fourth quarter.
As a result, Hart had to withstand two closing threats by Chaminade to escape with a 26-21 victory in a Southern Section Division III quarterfinal. Hart will play Los Alamitos next week in the semifinals.
Chaminade tailback Justin Giovannettone ran two yards for a touchdown to pull the upstart Eagles to within 26-21 with 2 minutes 51 seconds to play.
Chaminade then recovered an onside kick and punched deep into Hart territory.
The bid failed however when quarterback Travis Hall threw incomplete passes on third and fourth down at the Hart 28-yard line.
“We were disappointed that we didn’t play very well,” Hart Coach Mike Herrington said.
Said Connors: “We had them in the second half, but we wound up having to hold them on defense.”
Hart (9-3) appeared to be within a play of blowing out the Eagles in the final quarter.
Connors, who completed 21 of 31 and also rushed for 30 yards in eight carries, hit Davis Delmatoff with a 13-yard touchdown pass in the final minute of the third quarter to give the Indians a 26-14 lead.
On its next possession, Hart moved to Chaminade’s eight-yard line, but came away with no points after a penalty forced a 37-yard field-goal attempt that missed.
Chaminade (9-3) drove 80 yards in nine plays to score with less than three minutes to play. Giovannettone, who rushed for a game-high 137 yards in 39 carries, accounted for most of the yardage.
In the game’s opening minutes, Chaminade pushed Hart back to its one-yard line, forcing the Indians into a third-and-44 situation. As a result, the Eagles came away with good field position after a Hart punt.
The opportunity went for naught, however, when Giovannettone fumbled at Hart’s seven-yard line and Hart recovered.
Giovannettone also fumbled on the first play of the second half to give Hart the ball at the Chaminade 26. Six plays later, Connors ran nine yards for a touchdown to give Hart a 19-7 lead.
Chaminade pulled to within 19-14 midway through the third quarter on a nine-yard run by fullback Franklin Saunders.
After a scoreless first quarter, Connors drove Hart 86 yards in 10 plays. Mike Neil ran one yard on fourth down and Hart led, 6-0.
Hart took a 12-0 lead with three minutes to play in the half after Connors intercepted a pass to give the Indians a first down at the Chaminade 42. Four plays later, Neil dove one yard again for a touchdown and Hart led, 12-0.
Chaminade drove 53 yards in six plays to pull to within 12-7 by halftime. Hall, who sustained the drive with a 20-yard scramble that also carried a late-hit penalty, ran two yards for the score and Ted Corcoran added a conversion kick.