TEMECULA — Temecula Valley senior running back Kason Kennedy scored with just 24 seconds remaining, completing the Bears' come-from-behind victory, 21-17, over the Lakeside Lancers.
It was game in which Temecula Valley (3-0) fell behind 10-0 at halftime, and again 17-7 in the third quarter, only to drive 57 yards in 12 plays on the final drive to set up the winning score.
"The way we were running on that last drive, I felt we had it on the touchdown," said Kennedy.
The Lancers ran just about anywhere and everywhere they wanted in the first half as standout senior tailback, Ryan Byrd, picked up 78 yards on 14 carries, not inlcuding a 55-yard touchdown catch late in the second quarter. On the play, Byrd refused to go down at the Bears 25-yard line, as he escaped several tackles on his way to the end zone.
On the second half opening kickoff, Bears senior receiver Daniel Manning took the ball up the sidelines to midfield, giving Temecula Valley great field position. Kennedy would later score from 7 yards out to bring the Bears within three, 10-7.
Lakeside leaned on Byrd again on the ensuing drive, marching 80 yards in 11 plays, to give the Lancers a 17-7 lead with just over five minutes left in the third quarter. Byrd scored his second touchdown of the game, this from 7 yards out. Byrd carried the ball 10 of the 11 plays for 69 yards on the drive.
Manning again countered the Lancers' score with a 70-yard scoring strike from senior quarterback, Derrick Tarin, on a second-and-20 play, bringing Temecula Valley to 17-14 at the end of the third quarter.
A 15-yard facemask penalty on the Bears, on a third-and-10 play early in the fourth quarter, kept Byrd and the Lancers on the field and kept their drive alive. It appeared that the Lancers might hold on as they moved into Temecula Valley territory on 32 yards from Byrd, but the drive stalled at the Bears 42-yard line with 6:36 remaining. It would be the last time that Byrd would touch the ball as he finished the game with 31 carries for 171 yards.
Temecula Valley started its deciding possession at its own 14 and advanced to the Lancers 1-yard line. On third and goal from the 1-yard line, the Bears won the game.
Manning finished with 182 all-purpose yards, including five catches for 117 yards, and the one score. Kennedy ran the ball 17 times for 88 yards.
"We're trying to help these kids find the next level," said Bears coach Paul McGowen. "Once they get there, we'll find our true stride."