In a tense battle between extreme rivals in California, Encino Crespi took a 21-20 lead over Sherman Oaks Notre Dame with 57 seconds left on a 17-yard pass from Bryan Bennett to Brandon Graves. The two-point conversion failed, but the game appeared over.
But blue chip quarterback Ryan Kasdorf fired four completions for the Knights to reach the Crespi 41-yard line. With 6.5 seconds left and no remaining timeouts, senior Eric Solis lined up and kicked a career-best 51-yard field goal for a 23-21 lead. Solis earlier had booted field goals from 26 and 20 yards.
“Everybody was jumping around and swarmed the field,” Notre Dame coach Kevin Rooney said. “We had to clear the field (because three-tenths of a second remained).”
Following an onside kick, Bennett was able to loft a deep pass from the 50, but it was knocked down to end the thriller.
Rooney calls Solis a late bloomer.
"He was a back-up guy last year. He worked all summer and improved a lot. We thought he’d be pretty good," Rooney said. "He was just about at his limit (potential distance) last night.”
In eight games, the 6-foot, 180-pound senior has kicked 6 of 7 field goals, 36 of 37 extra points and put 31 of his 38 kickoffs into the end zone. The missed field goal was from 53 yards and the missed PAT was mishandled on the snap.
Notre Dame has a solid legacy at the kicker position. It has produced the likes of Nick Folk (Dallas Cowboys), Kai Forbath and Chris Sailer (both of UCLA) and Erik Folk (Washington). Sailer is one of the premier kicking camp directors in the nation and has worked with Solis.