Skill and luck push University City into Division III title game
A little skill and a lot of luck, and it’s back to the sectional championship for the University City Centurions.
The top-seeded Centurions overcame a late rally after visiting Bishop’s with some late magic to defeat the fourth-seeded Knights 24-20 in Friday night’s Division III semi-final at home.
“It really feels like we’ve pulled the rabbit out of our back pocket,” University City coach Paul Lawrence said. “Of course we train all the time for things like that, and I knew we had a chance, but it was a game. I guess we deserved a little luck.
University City, which lost to Patrick Henry in last year’s Division IV Finals, will face No. 2 seed Point Loma in next Friday’s 2 p.m. game at Southwestern College in hopes of win the title of the first section of the school.
Midway through the final quarter, UC (10-2) held a narrow 17-13 lead when the Knights offense flared up.
In six games, senior quarterback William Fierro pushed the Knights for 80 yards for their first lead of the game. Fierro found a wide open Jaden Moore in the corner of the end zone for a 20-17 lead.
Centurions rookie Quentyn Demara was at the helm at quarterback in critical time with starter Samuel Coopoer switching to receiver. Three completions in four plays and UC quickly found themselves with a first down inside Bishop’s 30 with time ticking away.
But things seemed to stagnate.
A short win, an incomplete and a sack and Demara was facing a fourth-and-12 at 36 with just 1:29 to play.
On the snap, Demara rolled a right but found no one open. Holding him until the last possible second, he finally released him as he ran out of bounds towards sophomore Dreyden Garner.
Garner made a remarkable hold, moving past a pair of defenders to grab the ball and dropped back into the end zone for the winning score with 1:16 remaining.
“I’m an athlete and I know my quarterback is an athlete, so I knew I had to get it,” Garner said. “When I saw him rush, I just had to keep running and open up, then I pointed him high.”
“I held it for as long as I could, but I knew I had a group of athletes that could make plays, so I just put it together,” Demara said.
The Centurions took an early lead when Cooper ran six times for 78 yards on his team’s first practice. He hit Ladainian Lawrence for the four-yard score with 7:52 left in the first quarter.
Tayshawn Taylor’s 12-yard run made it 7-6 for the Knights (9-3), but Cooper found Cayden Dawson for another six-yard score with 34 seconds left in the quarter. A 10-yard touchdown from Fierro to Jaden Moore cut the lead to 14-13 at halftime.
Farmer is a freelance writer.
Division III Semi-Finals
At the university town high school
University Hall 24, Bishop’s 20
Bishop 6 7 0 7 — 20
University town 14 0 3 7 — 24
CPU — Lawrence 4 pass from Cooper (shot from Calderon)
B— Taylor 12 run (missed kick)
CPU — Dawson 6 pass from Cooper (shot from Calderon)
B— Moore 10 pass from Fierro (Cluskey kick)
CPU — FG Caleron 40
B— Moore 31 pass from Fierro (Cluskey kick)
CPU — Garner 31 pass from Demara (shot from Calderon)