NEWPORT COAST — It was hard to decide what was the most unbelievable in the crazy turn of events that gave the Sage Hill School football team a come-from-behind, 33-31 victory over Tri-City Christian on Friday night at home.
But Sage Hill will take it after winning the wild nonleague game when senior Taylor Ross nailed a 28-yard field goal with just two seconds left in regulation.
It capped the Lightning (2-0) recovering two onside kicks and scoring 17 points in the final three minutes of the game. They rallied from a 28-9 third-quarter deficit against Tri-City Christian (1-1), then they mobbed on the west side of the field after the dramatic victory.
Ross' two-yard touchdown run with 2:54 left, and his subsequent conversion run, brought Sage within seven points. Ford Hanour recovered Ross' ensuing onside kick, but it again looked bleak as the Lightning were backed up to a fourth-and-14.
Quarterback Randall Mycorn's long pass downfield went just past the outstretched arms of the Eagles' Robert Hayashi near the Sage sideline. Sage receiver Eric Cheng caught it, and the 53-yard touchdown play brought the Lightning within 31-29, although Ross was tackled out of bounds on the ensuing conversion run.
It was one of the few unsuccessful runs of the second half for Ross, who finished with 213 yards rushing and three touchdowns. But that was OK, as Sage again recovered his onside kick.
This time, sophomore Charlie Kim waited until it went 10 yards before snatching it up.
The Lightning again drove downfield, and Ross' initial field-goal attempt was blocked. But as the ball lay on the ground, senior lineman T.J. Danner grabbed it. Danner, all 260 pounds of him, rumbled down to the Tri-City 10-yard line for a first down with around 10 seconds to go.
After a spike, Ross' 28-yard field-goal attempt curled inside the left upright, and the Lightning stormed the field. The referees put two seconds back on the clock, but the kickoff was fumbled out of bounds and Sage had the dramatic win.
Ross, who rushed for a school-record 250 yards in the opening win against Fairmont Prep, now has both of the top two single-game performances in school history.
Sage Hill 33, Tri-City Christian 31
SCORE BY QUARTERS
TCC 0 – 14 – 14 – 3 — 31
Sage 0 – 9 – 7 – 17 — 33
SH – Ross 30 FG, 9:17.
TCC – Madrano 95 kickoff return (Giese kick), 9:05.
SH – Ross 5 run (kick failed), 3:58.
TCC – Mertes 42 pass from Giese (Giese kick), 1:42.
TCC – Rodarmel 40 fumble return (Giese kick), 11:17.
TCC – Darisay 16 pass from Giese (Giese kick), 1:52.
SH – Ross 69 run (Ross kick), 1:20.
TCC – Giese 27 FG, 6:39.
SH – Ross 2 run (Ross run), 2:54.
SH – Cheng 53 pass from Mycorn (run failed), 1:13.
SH – Ross 28 FG, 0:02.
TCC – Madrano, 11-59.
SH – Ross, 25-213, 3 TDs.
TCC – Giese, 8-17-1, 105 , 2 TDs.
SH – Mycorn, 10-24-1, 231, 1 TD.
TCC – Mertes, 5-85, 1 TD.
SH – Cheng, 2-80, 1 TD.