If any California program could overtake De La Salle (Concord)
as the best in the state it would probably be Centennial (Corona)
Great system. Great coaches. Great numbers. Great athletes.
Year after year after year.
But in the Inland Empire of Southern California, the football is stout every season at least one local/national power steps up to challenge the Huskies.
This season, Vista Murrieta (Murrieta, Calif.)
actually passed Centennial. Featuring the Gatorade State Player of the Year Su'a Cravens
, the Broncos have been nationally ranked and went into Friday's Southern Section Inland Division championship game as the favorite.
The came in No. 10 in the MaxPreps Xcellent
25 national rankings and No. 5 in the Freeman computer rankings
. Centennial was No. 24 in the Freeman rankings.
With one late two-point play deflection by Gavin Andrews
— against Cravens no less — Centennial pulled out a 30-28 thriller at Vista Murrieta's home field. According to the Los Angeles Times
, Cravens had scored on a 14-yard touchdown run to close within two with 1 minute, 18 seconds remaining.
Vista Murrieta quarterback Nick Stevens
lofted a high fade to the left corner of the end zone where the USC-bound Cravens and Andrews went one-on-one, a literal jump ball.
Cravens seemed to down with it for a second, but Andrews was able to knock it away to preserve Centennial's 13th straight game. Southern Section photo gallery.
The Huskies will now await an invitation from the CIF Commissioners Sunday to play in next week's regional finals. Centennial will either be invited the Open Division or Division I.
Andrews wasn't asked about his team's possible invitation after the game. He was asked about the play.
"We knew it was going to him," he told Eric Sondheimer of the Los Angeles Times. "I just prepared for it when he went out wide. I looked for him when the ball went up. I went up for the ball and let it happen.
"As soon as I saw the ball out of his hands, I was happy."
As were all the Huskies who stormed the field after the final seconds ticked off.
Junior quarterback Robert Webber
led the team's charge, going 16 of 23 for 259 yards and a touchdown, a 60-yarder to Barry Ware
that gave Centennial a 20-16 lead in the third quarter.
He also set up a 47-yard field goal by Rigo Luna
, that put Centennial up 30-22 with 3:36 to go. Webber had completes of 28 and 10 yards to keep the drive alive on third- and fourth down.
Besides the offensive excellent of Webber, the defense was particularly clutch, forcing four turnovers when the Broncos reached the red zone. Marquis Perkins
, Jihree Stewart
and Brandon Hill
all had interceptions inside the 10 yard line. Perkins and Steward picked off those passes at the end zone. Qwixcore account.
It was the Centennial's seventh section title in 12 years.
According to the Times, Kishawn Holmes rushed 25 times for 189 yards and two touchdowns for Vista Murrieta.