GRANADA HILLS — Would the Chatsworth Sierra Canyon High football team actually go for two points with the CIF Southern Section Division 4 football title on the line?
Corona del Mar Coach Dan O'Shea called timeout in the second overtime after Sierra Canyon pulled within a point on a touchdown pass.
"We called timeout to put a field goal block in, because their kicker was kicking them low," O'Shea said. "The next time they came out, they were in an offensive set."
This time, it was Sierra Canyon called timeout, presumably after failing to draw Corona del Mar offside. Now the kicker would come in to tie the game, right?
Nope. Sophomore quarterback Johnny Hawkins came back out there. And he handed it off to senior running back Bobby Cole, who ran up the middle.
The gutsy call paid off as Cole found the end zone, suddenly ending the epic game as top-seeded Sierra Canyon stunned No. 3-seeded CdM, 36-35, at Granada Hills Charter High.
"When all is said and done, credit to [Sierra Canyon] for going for two and winning the game," O'Shea said. "They did a really good job and they deserved that win."
Sierra Canyon (14-0) repeated as CIF champion after winning the Mid-Valley Division last year. The Trailblazers denied CdM (12-2) its first CIF title since 2013.
CdM had its chances. The Sea Kings players on the field, including kicker Max Casper, thought a 24-yard field goal attempt with 1:40 left in regulation had given them the lead. Instead, the referees ruled the kick just wide.
Sierra Canyon took the lead in the first overtime on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Hawkins to Sam Shadorf. CdM responded as senior quarterback Chase Garbers found freshman John Humphreys on a 12-yard score.
The Sea Kings took their first lead of the game in the second overtime, when Garbers ran it in for his third rushing touchdown of the game. But Sierra Canyon responded and earned the two-point conversion to win it.
Sierra Canyon (14-0) never trailed Corona del Mar (12-2) in regulation, but the game stayed close throughout.
The teams combined for three turnovers in the first quarter. Sierra Canyon had fumbled snaps that were recovered by Corona del Mar's Bryce Clabaugh and Jaydin Moses. But the Trailblazers caught a break when CdM fumbled a handoff on first-and-10 at the Sierra Canyon 12-yard line midway through the quarter. Sierra Canyon junior Chris Cannon recovered the ball.
Sierra Canyon got on the scoreboard on its ensuing possession. The Sea Kings did a good job most of the first half on Cole, who came into the game with 1,903 yards rushing and 28 touchdowns. But Cole earned his 29th score on a 59-yard touchdown run down the home sidelines with 3:38 left in the first quarter, breaking several tackles along the way.
The Trailblazers doubled their lead on a 10-yard slant pass for a touchdown from Hawkins to fellow sophomore receiver JJ Hernandez, who made the catch despite tight coverage from CdM's Cameron Kourmos with 2:22 remaining in the half. Hernandez had seven receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns in the game.
Corona del Mar responded just before halftime, though, with by far its best drive of the half. Garbers, who finished his sparkling prep career on Friday night, capped the 11-play, 69-yard drive with a two-yard keeper with just 13 seconds before halftime.
JT Murphy had 240 yards rushing for CdM, which passed for a season-low 196 yards. The lone big pass play of more than 15 yards was a 26-yard completion from Garbers to TaeVeon Le. But O'Shea said the wind was more a factor in the kicking game than the running game.
The Sea Kings, who had a 12-game winning streak snapped, can be proud of their season, O'Shea said.
"We say it all the time," he said. " We don't measure ourselves at CdM based on wins and losses, and we never will. The first thing we cherish is the brotherhood. We take great pride in that. The first thing we told the boys is that we'll stay humble in victory, and we'll stay classy in defeat. We realize there's instances where the scoreboard won't be in our favor, but we're the men of CdM, and we take great pride in as brotherhood as the men for the game of football."
In the game of football, sometimes there are also instances when the game can hang on one final play. And in this case, Cole got the job done for his team.
"Of course, I'll be looking at that [play] for the next 12 months," O'Shea said.
CIF Southern Section Division 4
Sierra Canyon 36, Corona del Mar 35 (2 OT)
SCORE BY PERIODS
CdM 0 – 7 – 7 – 7 – 7 – 7 — 35
SC 7 – 7 – 7 – 0 – 7 – 8 — 42
SC – Cole 59 run (Buss kick), 3:38.
SC – Hernandez 10 pass from Hawkins (Buss kick), 2:22.
CdM – Garbers 2 run (Casper kick), 0:13.
CdM – Murphy 5 run (Casper kick), 2:57.
SC – Hernandez 34 pass from Hawkins (Buss kick), 0:40.
CdM – Garbers 2 run (Casper kick), 10:40.
SC – Shadorf 13 pass from Hawkins (Buss kick)
CdM – Humphreys 12 pass from Garbers (Casper kick)
CdM – Garbers 2 run (Casper kick)
SC – Myrick 20 pass from Hawkins (Cole run)
CdM – Murphy, 27-240, 1 TD.
SC – Cole, 15-103, 2 TDs.
CdM – Garbers, 20-32-0, 196, 1 TD.
SC – Hawkins, 17-30-0, 260, 4 TDs.
CdM – Humphreys, 6-60, 1 TD.