Terry Newsome, poet and quarterback for Sylmar High's football team, will have to work extra hard to compose a verse to describe the drama and excitement of his team's 27-24 double-overtime victory over Harbor City Narbonne Wednesday night in a City Championship quarterfinal game.
Newsome's eight-yard touchdown pass to Joe Dickson ended the game and earned Sylmar (9-2-1) a spot in next Friday's semifinal against unbeaten Venice.
Newsome rallied the Spartans from a 7-0 halftime deficit, throwing three touchdown passes, scoring a touchdown and rushing for 90 yards.
"I had to be a leader," Newsome said. "Quarterbacks don't get hyped up. Quarterbacks stay calm."
It was difficult to stay calm during a wild fourth quarter. Narbonne (6-6), trailing 14-7, got back into the game when sophomore linebacker Major Culbert blindsided Newsome, knocked the ball loose and Anthony Buckner recovered on the Sylmar 22. Culbert scored on an 11-yard run to tie the score with 5:12 left.
Narbonne had a chance to win the game on the final play of regulation, but sophomore kicker Oscar De Alba was barely short on a 52-yard field-goal attempt.
On the first play of overtime, with the ball placed at the 10 and Sylmar having four plays to score, Newsome threw a touchdown pass to Chris Green. Narbonne, facing a fourth down from the six, tied the game on Thomas Allen's six-yard touchdown pass to Lamont Long. It was Narbonne's first and only pass completion in two playoff games.
In the second overtime, the Gauchos settled for a 22-yard field goal by De Alba. Then Newsome launched Sylmar's victory celebration by lofting his game-winning pass to Dickson in the right corner of the end zone.
"He's special," Coach Jeff Engilman said of Newsome, a 5-foot-11 junior. "He makes things happen."
As for an appropriate poetic ending, Newsome said, "I'll make sure I write one."
Carson 27, Van Nuys Grant 24 -- Grant's Moises Gomez missed a 34-yard field goal wide right with 3:39 left, then Carson gained two first downs to run out the clock and preserve the quarterfinal victory at Carson High.
Robert Miller carried 22 times for 168 yards and two touchdowns, including a one-yard plunge that gave the third-seeded Colts (9-3) a 27-17 lead with 8:31 left.
Anthony Dickson, who rushed for 246 yards and four touchdowns in Grant's first-round victory over L.A. Fairfax, gained only 42 yards in 14 carries, but scored on a 72-yard swing pass in the third quarter. Dashawn Smith completed eight of 16 passes for 206 yards and rushed for two touchdowns, and Gomez was successful on a 34-yard field goal for sixth-seeded Grant (8-4).
Venice 53, Los Angeles Crenshaw 0 -- Quarterback Beau Davis threw three touchdown passes to James Lewis in the first 14 minutes as the top-seeded Gondoliers (12-0) routed the visiting Cougars to advance to the semifinals for a second consecutive season.
Davis completed 12 of 18 passes for 337 yards and five touchdowns, including two to receiver Ryan Graves. Lewis, who finished with four receptions for 175 yards, scored on catches of 59, 36 and 73 yards to give Venice a 19-0 lead with 10:11 left in the second quarter.
Running back Byron Ellis had two three-yard touchdown runs for the Gondoliers, who led, 26-0, at halftime and limited the Cougars (9-3) to 209 yards of offense for the game.
Aaron Huntley had 61 yards in 12 carries for Crenshaw, which reached Venice territory only three times and didn't reach the red zone until its last drive of the game.
-- Ben Bolch