Backup QB Garrett Phillips rallies JSerra to 17-14 victory

JSerra coach Pat Harlow addresses team after 17-14 comeback win over Milton on Saturday.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Garrett Phillips is the most unlikely of heroes for the JSerra football team. A backup quarterback on the freshman team, a JV starter for two years and a backup this year on the varsity, he has always waited for his turn. It happened Saturday afternoon when coach Pat Harlow decided the offense needed the spark in the fourth quarter against Milton High of Georgia.

Phillips came off the bench to connect on a 33-yard completion to Earnest McDaniel that set up a tying seven-yard touchdown run by Chris Street. Later, sophomore Anthony Andrioli made a 31-yard field goal with 2:22 left to give the Lions (3-1) a 17-14 win over Milton in the Trinity League vs. USA Showcase at St. John Bosco.

“We threw him in a tight situation,” Harlow said. “He stepped up in the pocket and made a play when we needed it.”


Said Phillips: “I’m always ready.”

JSerra’s defense shut out Milton in the second half after the Lions were down 14-7 at halftime. New Zealand Williams had a key interception at midfield and sophomore linebacker Malaki Te’o came through with the sack of the day, leaving Milton out of field-goal range. The ball was on the JSerra 19 with 10 seconds left when Te’o ran down quarterback Devin Farrell and knocked the ball loose all the way to the 43.

Street played sick, but Sammy Green helped out with 70 yards rushing. McDaniel caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from General Booty in the first half.

“That’s a gutsy win,” Harlow told his players afterward.

But he admitted, “We have to figure out how to get better.”

Calabasas is next week and games against St. John Bosco and Mater Dei are coming.