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San Pedro holds on for gritty victory over Dorsey in City Section Division I final

San Pedro holds on for gritty victory over Dorsey in City Section Division I final
Josh Ward scores on a 29-yard run to pull San Pedro within 14-10 of Dorsey in the second quarter of Saturday night’s City Division I final. (Steve Galluzzo / For The Times)

Every tackle bruising tailback Josh Ward shed drained a little more will out of the Los Angeles Dorsey defense, and by the time he was done San Pedro was celebrating its gritty 22-20 win in the City Section Division I final Saturday night at El Camino College.

Ward rushed for 86 yards and two touchdowns in 16 carries, Alexander Prado added 50 yards in 10 carries and Cameron Thomas made a 43-yard catch to set up a score as the sixth-seeded Pirates (8-6) made the plays when they needed to win their fifth straight since a blowout loss to Southern Section Division 3 champion Chatsworth Sierra Canyon.

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Ward busted through tackles at the line of scrimmage and scored on a 29-yard run to pull the Pirates within four, then Joshua Johnson returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown that gave San Pedro its first lead, 16-14, with 6:30 left in the first half.

Keeshawn Johnson scored on a 90-yard run to get Dorsey off to a quick start. Andres Srsen kicked a 25-yard field goal to pull San Pedro within 6-3 midway through the first quarter, but Michael Sanford answered with a three-yard touchdown run and added the two-point conversion that gave Dorsey a 14-3 lead early in the second quarter.

After Johnson was stopped two yards short on a fake punt at the San Pedro 25, Ward capped the Pirates’ ensuing drive with a two-yard run off tackle to extend their lead to 22-14 with 8:13 left.

Sanford capped a nine-play drive with a four-yard run to pull the Dons within 22-20 with 1:14 to go, but a delay of game penalty moved the two-point try back five yards to the 8. From there, on a halfback option pass, Isaiah Nelson overthrew wide receiver K’wan Stewart in the end zone.

Dorsey attempted an onside kick, but Matt McCabe recovered at midfield to seal the Pirates’ victory — their sixth section title and first since sharing the Division I crown with Harbor City Narbonne in 2008.

San Pedro quarterback Justin Bernal completed five of eight passes for 73 yards, but was sacked four times.

Johnson gained 151 yards in 19 carries and quarterback Julien Walker added 31 yards in eight carries for the top-seeded Dons (8-6).

Dorsey was denied its sixth City title and was playing in its third straight Division I final. The Dons lost to Narbonne 42-34 in 2016 and fell to San Fernando 28-21 last season.

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