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Nick Delgadillo leads Garfield to Open title game with victory over Eagle Rock

Nick Delgadillo leads Garfield to Open title game with victory over Eagle Rock
Garfield wide receiver Angel Hidalgo catches a 44-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. (Steve Galluzzo / For The Times)

Nick Delgadillo is mostly known for his defense, but it was his one-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter that lifted Garfield to a 24-21 victory over Eagle Rock on Friday night.

In a semifinal matchup between the only two remaining undefeated teams in the City Section, the sixth-seeded Bulldogs advanced to the Open Division championship game and clinched a regional bowl berth.

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Garfield (12-0) now faces the Herculean task of dethroning top-seeded Harbor City Narbonne (9-3) in the final next Friday at 7 p.m. at El Camino College.

A senior linebacker and fullback, Delgadillo is the Bulldogs’ leading tackler, but he carried two defenders with him over the goal line with 3:04 left to complete a 61-yard, 12-play drive, then Garfield sacked quarterback Nathan Corrales twice on the Eagles’ final series to salt away a gritty road win.

Eagle Rock receiver David Montijo catches a pass in front of Garfield defender Abel Martinez
Eagle Rock receiver David Montijo catches a pass in front of Garfield defender Abel Martinez (Steve Galluzzo / For The Times)

Delgadillo recovered a fumble deep in Eagle Rock territory to set up the game’s first score — a 28-yard field goal by Fabian Munoz Rodriguez late in the first quarter.

Angel Hidalgo caught a 44-yard touchdown pass from Jonathan Bautista to make it 10-0 late in the second quarter, but second-seeded Eagle Rock answered on a 38-yard scoring strike from Corrales to David Montijo 38 seconds before halftime.

Josh Brown caught a seven-yard touchdown pass and Ethan Delgado scored on a one-yard sweep to give Eagle Rock a 21-10 lead. Garfield needed only three plays to respond, the last a 15-yard touchdown catch by Bruce Gonzalez that pulled the Bulldogs within four points and set up a frenzied fourth quarter.

Garfield punted five times in the first half but capitalized on several Eagle Rock miscues, including a missed 45-yard field-goal attempt by Edson Zamarron.

The Eagles (10-1) lost to Reseda Cleveland 55-54 in overtime in the Division II semifinals last year and have posted a 21-3 record over the last two seasons.

Eagle Rock won back-to-back Division II crowns in 2005-06 while Garfield won Division 2A in 1981 and Division II in 2007.

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