Czernek’s Two Pulls One Out


Saving its best for last, Newbury Park High erased what had been a dismal performance through three quarters and pulled out a 43-42 victory over Buena in a nonleague game at Ventura High on Friday night.

Nick Czernek faked a handoff right, bootlegged left and hit tight end Will Svitek on the winning two-point conversion pass with 13 seconds left.

The Panthers (2-1) trailed, 35-21, with 59 seconds to play in the third quarter but came alive with the help of two Buena turnovers in the final quarter.

Newbury Park marched 70 yards in 12 plays and 2:29 on its winning drive.


For most of the night, Czernek and his passing machine were off-target. The senior completed 26 of 57 passes for 349 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in the game but hit on 10 of 16 for 128 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Cause Hanna, who caught a three-yard touchdown pass from Czernek to pull the Panthers to within 42-41, finished with 11 catches for 149 yards and three touchdowns.

Ryan Shipton rushed for 157 yards and two touchdowns in 25 carries for Newbury Park.

Buena’s collapse overshadowed what may have been a breakout performance by sophomore tailbacks Freddie Keiaho and D.J. Blackledge.


Keiaho rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns in 10 carries and Blackledge ran for 138 yards and a touchdown in 14 carries.

Buena seemed to be putting the game away in the third quarter. Leading, 28-21, with just over a minute to play in the quarter, the Bulldogs seized an opportunity when a high punt snap bounced off Czernek’s hands and was recovered in the end zone by Buena’s Justin Vaughn.

Things seemed even better for Buena when the Panthers punted on their next possession, but Bulldog Cody Murphy fumbled the kick and Newbury Park’s Mike Wertheimer recovered at the Buena 45.

Six plays later, Shipton ran for a five-yard touchdown and Newbury Park pulled to within 35-28.

Buena began to move on the ground but Keiaho’s fumble gave the Panthers the ball at their 44 with nine minutes to play. Newbury Park tied the game, 35-35, five plays later when Czernek hit Hanna with a 16-yard touchdown pass.

Buena’s last salvo came when it drove 65 yards in nine plays and took its final lead, 42-35, on a Blackledge’s seven-yard touchdown run with 2:50 to play.

Newbury Park overcame 95 yards in penalties.

The Bulldogs were hampered by an ankle injury to middle linebacker Jake Scott, who was hurt with about four minutes to play in the first half.


Newbury Park got its first-half scores on an eight-yard touchdown pass from Czernek to Hanna and a one-yard run by Shipton.