Narbonne rallies from a three-touchdown deficit to beat Pittsburg for CIF state championship
Down 21-0, Gauchos triumph 28-21
Jordan Patterson was close to delirious on the windy football field at Sacramento State late Saturday night.
“Oh my God — state champs!” the Narbonne defensive back yelled among his equally ecstatic teammates.
Narbonne was facing a long, disappointing bus ride back to Harbor City when it fell behind by three touchdowns early in the second quarter of the CIF state championship Division 1-A bowl game against Pittsburg.
That set the stage for one great comeback. The City Section champions rallied to defeat Pittsburg 28-21.
“I always say you don’t win at halftime. You don’t win at the first or second quarters. Our boys played four quarters,” Coach Manuel Douglas said.
Down 21-0, Narbonne finally took the lead with 8:25 left when quarterback Jalen Chatman, on fourth and goal, connected with Aaron Magee on a seven-yard touchdown pass for a 22-21 advantage.
“He struggled tonight but he made the biggest play of our season,” Douglas said of Chatman.
Pittsburg (9-3) tried to take the lead on a 36-yard field goal attempt with less than five minutes left. But the snap was fumbled and Logan Taylor picked it up and ran 70 yards for the touchdown. Then Demontii Peoples clinched the win with an interception.
Narbonne (12-3), which has won four consecutive City Section championships and two state bowl game titles in the past four seasons, turned in a dominating second-half defensive performance behind linebackers Darien Butler, Raymond Scott and Julian Lewis. Butler and Scott have started for four seasons and will have so many rings they’ll need both hands to display them all.
Then there was running back Jermar Jefferson. He rushed for 158 yards in 28 carries and scored two touchdowns.
Scoring the game’s first 21 points, the Pirates quickly had Narbonne in trouble. Leading the way was speedy receiver-defensive back Willie Harts. He had an interception and two touchdowns 12 1/2 minutes into the game.
But then Narbonne rose up.
“We just kept fighting,” Chatman said.
Grace Brethren falls
It was so windy for the Division 2-A bowl game between Mountain View Saint Francis and Simi Valley Grace Brethren that a giant American flag was pulled down from its pole for fear it might tear.
“It was crazy,” Saint Francis quarterback Reed Vettel said.
Saint Francis (11-4) secured a 22-13 victory by shutting out Grace Brethren in the second half and clinching it when Evan Williams caught a three-yard touchdown pass on fourth down with 1:52 left .
The score was 15-13 at halftime. Grace Brethren (14-2), with only five seniors on its roster, scored on its opening possession with the wind when freshman Seven McGee ran 43 yards for a touchdown.
Williams caught a 31-yard touchdown pass from Vettel in the second quarter following a blocked punt, and a two-point conversion put Saint Francis up 8-7. Opeti Fangupo later scored on a one-yard run for a 15-7 lead.
Then Grace Brethren freshman quarterback Michael Zele surprised Saint Francis, passing against the wind to Jermel Jones for a 72-yard touchdown.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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