Rahshaun Haylock (CBS) – If it wasn’t clear before, Los Angeles solidified itself as the sports capital of the world. The biggest stories in sports happened right here.
A week ago Saturday, Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson were introduced as the newest members of the Angels. (As much as Los Angeles is not a part of Anaheim and vice versa, it’s still a shared media market.) There was the agreed and then vetoed trade that was supposed to send Chris Paul to the Lakers.
There was Lamar Odom getting shipped to Dallas, while Paul still found his way to L.A., just not in a Lakers uniform, but instead down the hall with the Clippers.
Even, the UCLA Women’s Volleyball team took home a national championship over the weekend.
However, while most of those great things were taking place off of the field.
While most of us spent the weekend tweeting #LACP3, what Johnny Stanton did under the lights in front of 7,624 at Home Depot last Friday probably flew under the radar. Way under the radar.
Who? You might ask.
No, Stanton is not a member of the Galaxy, nor is he a soccer star.
He is the starting quarterback for the Santa Margarita High School football team.
Last Friday night he was the star of stars in a game of epic proportions when his Eagles faced San Jose Bellarmine for the Division I State Championship.
Had a certain 4-letter network been carrying the game, they would have dubbed it an instant classic.
There was drama, big plays, crucial turnovers, and three lead changes in the final seven minutes of the fourth quarter. Everything you would want from a championship game, this game had it —more than living up to its billing.
The third and final lead change of the quarter came on the heels of a nine-play 80-yard drive, lasting 1:30 engineered by Stanton.
Keep in mind, Santa Margarita head coach Harry Welch decided to allow Bellarmine score on a one-yard touchdown run that gave them a 37-36 lead. He wanted some time on the clock so his offense could get the ball down the field.
There was 1:46 left when Stanton and the Santa Margarita offense took the field.
On 2nd and 10 from his own 20, he hooked up with his main target, River Cracraft for a 36-yard gain, down to the Bells’ 44 yard line.
Two plays later, he found Cracraft again. This time for 13 yards to the Bells’ 31-yard line.
He used his legs on the next play, a quarterback draw, picking up 22 yards to get inside the 10 yard line.
1st and Goal, Eagles at the Bellarmine nine-yard line.
Chipping away, it’s now 3rd and Goal at the two, Stanton hands it off to his tailback, Ryan Wolpin, who appears to have gotten into the endzone with a run to the right but the officials blew the play dead at the one-yard line.
Kicker John McGrory is on the sideline warming up for what now looks to be an 18-yard game winning field goal with 17 seconds left in the game. McGrory hasn’t missed a field goal all season.
Welch sent out his offense.
On 4th and goal, Stanton leaps and stretches the ball over the goal line on a quarterback sneak.
Stanton ties a CIF State Bowl record for his 6th touchdown of the night. He completed 14-25 passes for 306 yards and four touchdowns, also tying a state bowl record. On the ground, he carried it 20 times for 69 yards and two scores.
Santa Margarita wins the Division I State Championship 42-37.
There are no cars or trucks being driven onto the field, no confetti falling from the sky, just pure jubilation.
It’s the satisfaction of knowing that on the biggest stage, in the biggest game of your life, you got it done.
On Friday, Stanton and his Santa Margarita teammates got it done.