Since the start of league play in early October no team left in the City Section football playoffs has been as dominant as Lake Balboa Birmingham, and the Patriots extended their winning streak to six games while earning a place in the Open Division final with Friday night’s 28-25 road victory over San Pedro.
Fourth-seeded Birmingham (7-4) will face third-seeded Wilmington Banning (7-4) for the championship next Friday night at El Camino College. The Pilots beat No. 7 L.A. Crenshaw 35-21 in Friday’s other semifinal.
San Pedro, pulled to within 28-25 on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Dylan Kordic to Jahmar Brownand a two-point conversion run by Josh Ward, but Chris Figueroa recovered the ensuing onside kick with eight seconds remaining andthe Patriots ran out theclock.
The Patriots — down by 10 in the fourth quarter — were again led by senior two-way star Mason White.
Against San Pedro, White had six catches for 60 yards and two touchdowns, but he was hardly a one-man show. He had plenty of help from his friends.
Quarterback Jackson Dadich completed 18 of 28 passes for 211 yards and four touchdowns and wideout Arlis Boardingham had three catches for 79 yards to lead Birmingham.
Ward had 84 yards in 16 carries.
After recovering a fumble on the opening kickoff, the top-seeded Pirates (10-2) covered 26 yards in seven plays, scoring on a two-yard run by Ward to take a 7-0 lead.
The lead jumped to 10 points after San Pedro drove 85 yards in seven plays on its opening possession of the third quarter, scoring on a four-yard run by Ward — his 19th of the season — to go up 17-7.
Birmingham drove to the Pirates’ 15-yard line late in the third quarter, but Jerad Braff stepped in front of a Dadich pass intended for Boardingham in the end zone for a touchback.
The Patriots forced a three-and-out and marched 58 yards in five plays, the last a 14-yard toss from Dadich to White to pull Birmingham within 17-14 with 10:41 left in the fourth quarter.
Birmingham drove 59 yards on its next drive, capped by a 10-yard pass from Dadich to Michael Lopez that put the Patriots in front, 21-17, for the first time.
Roland Husges and Anderson Morrales combined to sack Kordic on fourth down with under two minutes left and three plays later Boardingham went high to haul in a 56-yard touchdown pass to increase Birmingham’s lead to 11 points with 1:31 to go.