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Village Christian Succumbs on Late Touchdown Drive

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The steady rain that fell through Saturday night’s Division X semifinal appeared to mean only good things for Village Christian High’s ground-oriented offense and bad things for Calvary Chapel’s run-and-shoot offense.

Appearances, however, can be deceiving.

With the clock winding down at Kennedy High, Calvary Chapel completed two key passes in the final minutes--the clincher an 18-yard halfback pass from Matt Kellogg to Brian Arrowood for a score with just 1 minute 6 seconds left--to lift the Eagles to a 13-12 win over Village Christian.

Jason Sharkey’s point-after-touchdown kick was good from 25 yards after a penalty to provide the margin of victory.

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The pass was Kellogg’s first of the season and came just two plays after Sharkey connected with Arrowood for a crucial 44-yard gain on a fourth-and-nine play.

The Eagles (11-1) thus overcame the elements that all but grounded the run-and-shoot and they earned a berth in the championship game next week against Southern California Christian. Sharkey, the Eagles’ quarterback, completed just eight of 15 passes for 160 yards in the wet weather.

“I got a good grip on the ball (for the option pass),” said Kellogg, who was the focus of Calvary Chapel’s offense with 22 carries for 116 yards. “It was the first time all night that I actually got a good grip on the ball.”

Village Christian (6-6-1) took a 12-6 lead when Tarik Blair swept right for 42 yards with 4:33 left and appeared to have the game won. But when Sharkey hit Arrowood down the left sideline, the Crusaders’ improbable playoff run began to slip away.

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A final bid by the Crusaders died on the Eagle 21 as time ran out.

“When you’ve got a team fourth and nine, they’re not supposed to come back,” Village Christian Coach Mike Plaisance said. “That play broke our back.”

The Crusaders had led on two occasions, first on Chad Everett’s five-yard run in the second quarter. Everett (110 yards, 22 carries) spearheaded an offense that attempted just six passes before desperation time in the final minute.

But after each Village Christian score, a two-point conversion attempt was stopped short.

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Calvary Chapel tied the score, 6-6, in the third quarter when Sharkey found Kellogg on a screen pass and the versatile halfback rambled 33 yards. A two-point conversion attempt failed for the Eagles, leaving the score tied and setting the stage for the dramatic finish.


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