On fourth and one at its own 41-yard line early in the second half, Sierra Canyon had a choice: punt the ball and play for field position or go for it and try to extend the drive. The Trailblazers chose the latter and it paid off as JD Sumlin ran for 16 yards to keep the chains moving and seven plays later Sierra Canyon scored on Hunter Williams’ one-yard run that put the game out of reach.
The decisive drive took 14 plays, covered 80 yards and took 6 minutes 32 seconds off the clock and gave the Trailblazers a commanding three-touchdown cushion and they went on to rout Chaminade 35-7 in the Southern Section Division 2 championship game Friday night in West Hills.
It marked the third section title in four years for Sierra Canyon (13-1), which won its 11th straight game since its only blemish, a 21-14 loss at Westlake Village Oaks Christian on Sept. 6. The Trailblazers got the first points of the game on Josh Bryan’s 34-yard field goal with one minute left in the first quarter.
Chaminade (8-6) took the lead on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Jaylen Henderson to Ian Duarte early in the second quarter, but the Trailblazers answered less than seven minutes later on a 10-yard pass from Chayden Peery to Donovan Williams.
DJ Harvey gave Sierra Canyon breathing room with a 78-yard punt return and Bryan booted a 30-yard field goal as time expired to give the Trailblazers a 20-7 halftime lead. Harvey also caught five passes for 91 yards.
Williams put the exclamation point on the Trailblazers’ dominant performance with a 23-yard scoring run to make it 35-7 with 7:38 remaining. Peery threw for 167 yards, Sumlin ran for 48 yards and Brendon Gamble rushed for 42 yards for Sierra Canyon.
Henderson ran for 93 yards and threw for 154 but completed only eight of his 25 pass attempts. William Camacho, who scored six touchdowns in the Eagles’ playoff opener at Norco, was held to 18 yards in eight carries.
Duarte had four catches for 90 yards for Chaminade, which turned the ball over on downs on its first two drives of the second half.
The game featured not only many of the area’s best football players, but also two of the winningest coaches in the San Fernando Valley in Ed Croson and Jon Ellinghouse.
Now through 11 seasons at Chaminade, Croson piloted the Eagles to the Southern Section Western Division title and the CIF Division II state bowl championship in 2013.
Ellinghouse has been the coach at Sierra Canyon since the program’s inception in 2007 and in 13 seasons he has guided the Trailbazers to five Southern Section crowns.