Chaminade Makes Pass at Mission Title but Notre Dame Grabs It
Ryan Bowne’s leaping interception in the end zone with 29 seconds to play Friday preserved Notre Dame High’s 19-15 victory over Chaminade in a Mission League finale that more than lived up to its billing.
Bowne, Notre Dame’s senior quarterback who drove the Knights 92 yards for the winning touchdown in the final minutes, entered as a fifth defensive back as Chaminade appeared ready to steal the game with a frantic last-minute drive.
Chaminade’s Jason Zdenek, whose running and passing kept Notre Dame off-balance throughout the game, drove the Eagles from their 20 to the Knights’ eight-yard line before Bowne picked off his pass over the middle intended for split end Jon Green.
“He threw it, I reacted and I caught it,” Bowne said.
The victory earned Notre Dame (10-0, 5-0 in league play), defending Southern Section Division III champion, a third consecutive league title. Chaminade (9-1, 4-1) finished second.
“Heck of a game,” said Notre Dame Coach Kevin Rooney, whose players doused him with a bucket of ice water. “They gave us everything we could handle.”
The lead changed hands three times, the final time when fullback Justin Fargas slammed one yard for a score with 2 minutes 37 seconds to play.
Bowne, who completed 14 of 29 for 181 yards and a touchdown, led a 15-play march in which he completed seven of nine passes.
“It came down to it and we had to drive down the field,” Bowne said. “Our team stepped up.”
Zdenek, who gained 97 yards in 13 carries, almost stole Bowne’s glory in the final two minutes. He completed two passes to Gabe Crecion and another to tailback Jason Giovannettone on the final drive. He also scrambled for two nine-yard gains for first downs.
Giovannettone rushed for 151 yards in 27 carries.
“They ran the ball really well on us,” Rooney said. “We knew they were going to be good, but we didn’t know they were going to be that good.”
Chaminade dominated the first quarter, taking the opening kickoff and driving 55 yards for a 7-0 lead on Giovannettone’s two-yard dive.
Bowne moved the Knights 85 yards to pull to within 7-6 with a nine-yard pass to Nick Kounalis midway through the second quarter. Notre Dame took a 12-7 lead late in the half on a three-yard run by Alvan Arzu.
Chaminade went ahead, 13-12, in the third quarter on a 69-yard drive on which Giovannettone did most of the work. On fourth down at the four-yard line, Crecion took a handoff and fumbled, but tight end Peter Foy recovered at the three and ran into the end zone.
Chaminade made it 15-12 late in the third quarter when the ball sailed over the head of Notre Dame punter Steve Lee and out of the end zone for a safety.