High School Sports

Corona Centennial beats Gardena Serra, 68-64, in playoff opener

Everyone found out Friday night what happens when two no-huddle offenses filled with top athletes and reaching peak form collide in a playoff game.

It was offensive madness.

There were 15 lead changes and 12 touchdown passes in the Pac-5 Division playoff opener between Corona Centennial and Gardena Serra.

“It was a crazy game,” Centennial Coach Matt Logan said.


By game’s end, after Centennial had pulled out a 68-64 victory over Serra, fans certainly couldn’t complain about not getting their money’s worth.

JJ Taylor’s one-yard touchdown plunge with 5:23 left gave Centennial (9-2) the lead for good. The Huskies’ defense stopped Serra (8-3) on fourth down at the 15-yard line when Chacho Ulloa came up with his team’s fourth interception of the night.

Khalil Tate of Serra ran for three touchdowns, passed for five touchdowns and finished with 402 yards passing and 119 yards rushing. Centennial’s Javon McKinley caught 13 passes for 213 yards and four touchdowns and also ran back a kickoff 84 yards for another touchdown.

In the madness of a no-huddle offense, where pace, precision and tempo means everything, Centennial has pulled off the rarest of the rare.


The Huskies could never decide which quarterback was better between Nate Ketteringham and Anthony Catalano, so a tie was declared and both got to play in a two quarterback rotation that seemingly every coach on earth rejects as infeasible.

Not Logan.

“Honestly, I don’t see anything bad unless the kids are worried about their individual stats,” he said. “Outwardly, it doesn’t seem to bother them. Everybody told me, ‘If you have two, you don’t have one.’ I’m never someone who follows people. I sat down both and asked if they had won the job. They both shook their heads no. I’m happy with both of their performances.”

Catalano passed for 246 yards and four touchdowns. Ketteringham passed for 178 yards and three touchdowns.

The first half was as wild as it gets, with two no-huddle offenses pulling out all stops. It featured six lead changes and eight touchdown passes before Serra came away with a 35-34 lead.

Tate scored touchdowns on runs of three and 14 yards and fired touchdown passes of 14 yards to Deontay Burnett, 12 yards to Caleb Wilson and 27 yards to Isaac Cox, the last of which saw Tate somehow escape a pass rush to release the ball to a wide-open Cox with 36 seconds left in the half.

Greyson Bankhead caught touchdowns of 66 yards and 23 yards from Ketteringham. McKinley caught touchdowns of 53 yards and 21 yards from Catalano, and Brandon Quinones had an 11-yard scoring pass from Catalano.

Centennial will get a rematch against Santa Ana Mater Dei in the quarterfinals. Centennial lost to the Monarchs, 38-18, in its opener.


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