Lompoc running back Sheldon Canley caught a swing pass from quarterback Cavin Ross and turned up field in search of a game-clinching first down, 65-yards later he was in the end zone with a trail of Santa Barbara defenders in his rearview mirror.
The Braves overcame an early deficit to complete an undefeated season and claim the Channel League championship with a 19-9 victory on Friday night at Peabody Stadium.
“We gave them that game,” said Santa Barbara High coach J.T. Stone shaking his head in disbelief postgame.
The Dons came out with high energy and emotion throughout the game that nearly boiled over when a scrum broke out on the field midway through the second quarter with Santa Barbara leading 9-6. Two Santa Barbara players were ejected.
Momentum shifted towards Lompoc with 18 seconds remaining in the first half when Ross found Elijah Perkins in the end zone on 4th-and-14 giving the Braves a 13-9 lead going into the break.
“That might have been the play of the game,” said Lompoc coach Andrew Jones. “We sent (Cailin Daniels) on a post route knowing that the safety and the corner were going to follow him. The corner is supposed to have deep quarters responsibility, but he followed (Daniels) and we hit Elijah Perkins on the wheel route. Great call by T.J. Jordan.”
The second half was a defensive slugfest. The Dons marched 70 yards on eleven plays on their opening drive of the third quarter, but the Lompoc defense held firm in the red zone as Santa Barbara struggled with dropped passes in the end zone.
The Lompoc defense held again on fourth down with the Dons marching deep in Braves’ territory and just over three minutes remaining in the game, forcing an incomplete Hill pass with a well-timed blitz.
Lompoc took over possession and with Santa Barbara needing a turnover, defensive back Makai Trimble came down with an interception that was wiped out by a facemask penalty. On the very next play Canley put on the finishing touch with his long run to the end zone.
It was the final high school game for the Wisconsin-bound quarterback Hill, who scored Santa Barbara’s only touchdown on a three-yard run in the second quarter. He was overwhelmed with emotion as he left the field.
“They’re a great team and we shot ourselves in the foot multiple times,” Hill said of the loss. “I couldn’t ask for a better game to leave on. I’ve been riding with these boys since the fifth grade and it has been a crazy ride, but I think we’re finally starting to change the program around here and I’ve left my mark.”
Dos Pueblos 34 San Marcos 24
Sophomore running back Nathan Bojorquez scored two touchdowns to lead the Chargers to a come from behind victory in the final game of the season for both teams.
Santa Ynez 67 Cabrillo 0
Bennett Redell became the all time leader in Santa Ynez history with four touchdown passes. Logan Ast finished off his high school career by accounting for four touchdowns, including a touchdown pass to Deklan Pollenz.