Cathedral Catholic's Shawn Poma rushed for 246 yards on 27 carries and touchdown runs of 33 and 80 yards in the Dons' win over Narbonne. (Chadd Cady)
Earlier in the week, Shawn Poma was selected the San Diego Section’s Offensive Player of the Year. On Friday night, he proved why.
Yet despite Poma’s performance, Cathedral Catholic still needed a defensive play by Jalen Dye, who intercepted a Jake Garcia pass in the end zone as the Dons escaped with a 24-21 victory over Harbor City Narbonne to win the Southern California Regional 1-AA title.
With the victory, the Dons advance to a state championship bowl game in two weeks at Cerritos College in Norwalk against an opponent to be determined.
Because of the recent wildfires, Northern California teams played their section finals this weekend.
“I just saw the ball thrown up and I grabbed it,” said Dye, the son of former major leaguer Jermaine Dye. “The feeling is unbelievable.”
Late in the third quarter, Cathedral, 12-1 and winner of 12 in a row, failed to move the ball and Narbonne drove 69 yards on 10 plays with San Diego State commit Brionne Penny, the brother of former Aztecs All-American Rashad Penny, going the final yard to tie the game at 21 with 6:05 to play.
The game took a dramatic turn as Cathedral got the ball for a potential winning drive when Narbonne defensive lineman Jordan Barry was caught at the bottom of the pile on an inside running play. After being down for nearly 30 minutes, he was taken off the field by ambulance with 3:35 to play and the ball at the Gauchos’ 41.
Facing third-and-6, Matthew Bryant, running a jet sweep, got the first down and Narbonne was nailed with a 15-yard face mask penalty.
The Dons stalled, but kicker Dean Janikowski, who will walk on at Washington State, drilled a 40-yard field goal with 1:42 to play, giving Cathedral a 24-21 lead.
“It felt awesome,” Janikowski said. “All the specialists have been waiting for a moment like this all year long.”
Narbonne took possession at its 45 with 1:29 to play and drove to the Cathedral 10 before Dye made his big play.
Poma, Cathedral Catholic’s senior tailback, rushed for 246 yards on 27 carries and touchdown runs of 33 and 80 yards.
“I did that?” Poma said. “Of course, it’s up to my offensive line. They create the holes.
“We pulled it off, and we’re going to state.”
Cathedral Catholic coach Sean Doyle praised Poma’s effort.
“His performances in the big games proves to me that he’s the best back in San Diego County,” Doyle said of Poma. “The kids did an unbelievable job. They put it all out there.”
Division 2-AA: Simi Valley Grace Brethren 28, St. Augustine 14
St. Augustine struck first but struggled late as the Saints dropped a 28-14 decision to Simi Valley Grace Brethren in the Southern California Regional Division 2-AA football championship Friday night at Cal Lutheran University.
After a scoreless first quarter, St. Augustine quarterback Angelo Peraza threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Samuel Scaife for a 7-0 lead.
Grace Brethren’s Josh Henderson evened the score with a 1-yard touchdown run as the teams went to halftime tied 7-7.
The Lancers took the lead in the third quarter on a 15-yard pass from quarterback Mikey Zele to Nate Bennett.
Henderson, who carried the ball 25 times for 161 yards and three touchdowns, scored on runs of 25 and 37 yards in the fourth quarter.
St. Augustine used a little razzle-dazzle when Tyson McWilliams caught a sideline pass and pitched to a trailing Michael Ambagtsheer, who sprinted 15 yards for a touchdown with 7:35 left. That cut the Lancers’ lead to 21-14, but Grace Brethren answered with Henderson’s final TD.
The Saints, who won the San Diego Section Division I title with a 21-20 overtime victory over Helix, finished the season 10-4.
The Lancers (13-2) will play a Northern California Regional winner for a state championship bowl title Dec. 14 at Cerritos College.
Division 3-AA: Lincoln 54, Culver City 42
Ravaged by injuries and perilously close to running out of healthy players once again, Lincoln nonetheless staged an epic fourth-quarter rally to win a shootout over Culver City 54-42 in a Southern California Regional Division 3-AA championship game on Friday night at Culver City.
The Hornets (11-4) will have two weeks to heal and prepare for their first state title game on Dec. 15.
“It was a real battle,” Lincoln coach David Dunn said. “The trainers told me, ‘It’s a good thing you have a bye. There’s no way you’re even going to practice this week.’ ”
Don Chapman (cramps and hip flexor) scored on a 40-yard interception return, an 84-yard kickoff return, a 1-yard run and a 2-point conversion that sealed a 20-0 fourth quarter.
Keyshawn Smith (back spasms) caught six passes for 180 yards and TDs of 19, 49 and 62 yards, the latter two in the fourth quarter. Emmanuel Okere (deep thigh bruise) recovered a fumble in the end zone to open the scoring and also had a key interception.
Carlito Nothaft scored on a 4-yard run and had 72 yards before a concussion ended his night in the second quarter. Jamahd Monroe (deep thigh bruise) had three receptions for 50 yards, including a 34-yarder that set up a score.
Raymond Spriggs was 9-of-17 passing for 201 yards and two TDs, and Chris Davila was 5-of-14 for 111 and a TD as Lincoln totaled 460 yards, forced four turnovers and rallied from a 35-26 deficit midway through the third quarter.
Zevi Eckhaus threw four TD passes for Culver City (12-3).
“There was so much talent out there on the field,” Dunn said. “It was really fun.”
Division 4-AA: Visalia Central Valley Christian 30, Morse 14
Morse had to travel more than 300 miles to take on Central Valley Christian in Visalia in the Southern California Regionals, and the long trip tested the Tigers’ stamina. CVC scored four times in the second half to pull out a 30-14 win in Division 4-AA on a cold Friday night.
The Cavaliers (12-2) will play for their first state title on Dec. 15. Morse, which had won four straight playoff games, finished 9-5.
UCLA-bound Shamar Martin scored on a 53-yard run, and Michael Wright ran in the 2-point conversion for an 8-0 Morse lead with 0:29 to play in the first quarter. CVC outscored Morse, 30-6, the rest of the way.
Rayvon Benson pulled Morse within 17-14 on a 41-yard TD late in the third quarter, but CVC answered quickly with a 15-yard TD run by Jaalen Rening, who has committed to Nevada. Rening added a 31-yard TD run and finished with 197 yards on 27 carries.
Martin carried 21 times for 111 of Morse’s 230 rushing yards, but the Tigers had only five runs of more than 10 yards. Isiah Thompson was held to 48 yards on 16 carries. Martin was also intercepted twice by Tyce Griswold and Simon Tevelde.
CVC’s Brian Noel had five catches for 151 yards, including TDs of 53 and 42 yards from Eric Dragt, who was 8-of-10 passing for 218 yards.