CORONA -- In a game full of mistakes and tight defense, Temecula Valley had a chance to pull out a victory over Corona with 24 seconds left, but an interception by the Panthers' Tramel Davis sealed a 21-17 victory over the Golden Bears.
"We came out firing and our kids really thought we were going to pull this game out in the end," Temecula Valley head coach Paul McGowen said. "We need to fix a few things, but overall the kids played strong and really battled all night."
Derrick Tarin completed 7-of-9 passes on the final drive, moving the Golden Bears to the Panthers' 5-yard line. Corona thought it had sealed the victory with just over a minute left when the Panthers' Tanner Henry picked off a tipped pass at mid-field, but the Panthers were called for roughing the passer, giving Temecula Valley another chance at the Corona 35-yard line.
Tarin then scrambled for a 9-yard gain, hit Steven Wieman over the middle for 15 yards and connected with Adam Pulsipher at the Corona 5, setting up the final play.
"That was just (Tarrin) trying to make a play by rolling out and forcing a pass across the middle," McGowen said. "He thought he could get the ball to our two receivers in the end zone, but it didn't work out."
Trailing 7-3 in the second quarter, Temecula Valley took advantage of a bad snap on a Corona punt to get the ball at the Panthers 19. Tarin moved the Golden Bears on five plays, ending when he hit Pulsipher on a crossing pattern in the middle of the end zone to give the Golden Bears their first lead at 10-7.
After the Panthers moved back in front 14-10, Temecula Valley started at its own 20-yard line with just over a minute left in the first half. Tarin opened the drive with a 10-yard screen pass to Kason Kennedy and hit Wieman on a 17-yard strike to put the Golden Bears at midfield with 45 seconds remaining.
After sacks by Corona's Hai Dao and Devante Wilson dropped Temecula Valley back to the Panthers' 40-yard line, McGowen decided to run a draw in hopes of a sneak attack. Kennedy took the handoff at the 46, rumbled up the middle to the 20 where he pushed half the Corona defense 11 yards before strolling to his right into the end zone, giving the Golden Bears a 17-14 lead at halftime.
"He took the handoff and just didn't stop," McGowen said. "He did a wonderful job of pushing and the line really gave him the push he needed."
Tarin completed 22-of-34 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown while Kennedy led the rushing attack with 87 yards, including 75 in the first half.
"(Corona) did a good job of adjusting their defense and forced us to throw in the second half," McGowen said. "They did a wonderful job of cleaning things up which really forced us to pass."