VALENCIA (CBSLA.com) — Hart High withstood a big fourth quarter rally to defeat rival Valencia 28-21 on Friday night and claim the CIF-SS Northern Championship — the school’s ninth CIF title.
Valencia, who was without J.J. Wilson, was able to cut their deficit to four with a field goal shortly before the half, but Hart marched down the field behind quarterback Brady White.
After Brady found Chase White down field for a 40 yard gain, a penalty pushed the Indians back to the 25 yard line. A bubble screen from White, to Chase Whtie, to Connor Wingenroth found the endzone and extended Hart’s lead to 21-10.
After a number of three-and-outs, and taking advantage of five Hart turnovers, Valencia put together an offensive campaign of their own.
With just under 10 minutes remaining, Stone Jackson rushed the ball up the middle from 16 yards out to score and put the Vikings back in the game. A successful 2-point conversion from quarterback Jake Wallace to Nick Jones cut the deficit to 21-18.
Valencia found themselves in the red zone once again with under seven minutes in the game, when Cole Murphy’s field goal was good from 37 yards out to tie it up at 21-21.
Hart’s Wes Fitzpatrick returned the ensuing kickoff to the 41, giving White and the Indians good field position to start with.
On 3rd and 4, White found Fitzpatrick along the sideline.
Fitzpatrick followed a key blocker in Trent Irwin and stay to the outside, taking the ball 52 yards for the touchdown. White’s 40th touchdown of the season gave the Indians the lead 28-10.
With no timeouts left, Valencia mounted a furious offensive push toward the red zone, capped by a 35-yard completion from Wallace to Jackson, who came down with the ball in bounds before being pushed out at the 10 yard line.
Following a sack, and a spike to stop the clock, Wallace dropped back and fired from the 20-yard line to the back of the endzone, where Hart’s Wingenroth came up with the interception, clinching the game for the Indians.
The victory, which also marks the 10-year anniversary of Hart’s last CIF title, gives 23-year Head Coach Mike Herrington his seventh CIF title.