At the same time his future school was staging a miracle rally in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, Pierre Cormier was leading his present team to its own come-from-behind bowl victory.
Cormier ran for 272 yards and three touchdowns in 26 carries, including a go-ahead 79-yard score with 7 minutes 24 seconds remaining, as San Diego Madison overcame a 21-point deficit to stun Kentfield Marin Catholic, 38-35, in the CIF state championship Division III bowl game Saturday afternoon at Home Depot Center.
Marin Catholic drove deep into Madison territory before Austen Scarville intercepted a pass at the two-yard line with 2:21 left and the Warhawks ran out the clock.
"I couldn't ask for a better ending to my [high school] career," said Cormier, a senior who has committed to Arizona but is still being heavily recruited by UCLA. "I love this program, I love my teammates, I love my coaches and we all found a way to get it done."
Sophomore Kareem Coles threw for 149 yards, including a 50-yard pass to Lawrence Walker for Madison's first score and a 38-yard touchdown to Michael Garner that cut the Warhawks' deficit to 21-14 midway through the second quarter. Cormier's five-yard run gave Madison its first lead late in the third quarter and he added a 30-yarder to make it 31-21 early in the fourth.
"We have faith in each other and after we scored that first touchdown we started believing that we could come back," Coles said. "We've faced adversity all year so this was no different."
North Coast Section winner Marin Catholic took a 21-0 lead on a four-yard strike from Cal-bound quarterback Jared Goff to Andrew Celis on the first play of the second quarter before Madison responded with 31 unanswered points. Goff completed 14 of 30 passes for 262 yards and four scores, including a 37-yarder to Colton Hanley that gave the Wildcats (14-2) a 35-31 lead with 7:50 left.
Walker, another Arizona commit, had three catches for 67 yards. Anthony Herrera kicked a 41-yard field goal to pull Madison within 21-17 with 44 seconds left in the first half.
"Kareem is a great athlete and he was able to extend some plays and find open guys," said Cormier, who was happy to learn after the game that Arizona had scored twice in the last 42 seconds to top Nevada, 49-48. "Our coaches also did a great job adjusting at halftime and the line started opening holes."
It was the first state bowl win for the San Diego Section champion Warhawks (14-1), who lost the Division III game to Escalon 30-14 in 2010.