Southern California's High School Sports Blog

Football: Narbonne Rallies From 21-Point Deficit to win 2nd State Title (12/16/17)

Narbonne of Harbor City celebrates its 28-21 victory over Pittsburg in the CIF State Division 1-A championship game on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. Photo/@CIFState.

Narbonne of Harbor City came out flat and found itself in a massive hole, but the Gauchos rallied from a 21-0 deficit to beat Pittsburg 28-21 in the CIF State Division 1-A title game on Saturday evening at Sacramento State.

It was the second state championship for Narbonne in the past three years, while the Pirates were making their first appearance in the state finals.

“I love my guys,” Gauchos coach Manny Douglas said. “I’m really proud of the way they played. We talked about you have to play four quarters of football. We had adversity and what a way to win it. Hats off to them. They did a heck of a job. They were better than us for the first quarter and a half. They played really well the whole game, but we came together. I’m incredibly overwhelmed right now and stunned.”

The game came down to one bizarre series of plays late in the fourth quarter. The Gauchos were clinging to a 22-21 lead, while the Pirates were moving in for the go-ahead score. Pittsburg kicker Miguel Romo missed short on a 35-yard FG attempt with the wind at his back, but the Gauchos were flagged for roughing the kicker giving Pittsburg a new set of downs and first-and-goal at Narbonne’s 9.

Darien Butler got a sack to push the Pirates back to the 19-yard line, then a pair of incomplete passes brought up another 36-yard FG try by Romo, who had been carried off the field three plays earlier. An illegal procedure penalty pushed it back to a 41-yard attempt. But then Logan Taylor picked up a fumbled bad snap and scored on a 70-yard return to push Narbonne’s lead to 28-21.

A pair of 15-yard penalties were assessed against Narbonne for excessive celebration and a sideline violation, bringing up a failed 2-point conversion attempt rather than a 51-yard PAT, but the Gauchos had a 28-21 lead with 1:12 left.

Pittsburg had no timeouts left when it took over at its own 44, but two plays later Demontii Peoples sealed the victory for the Gauchos with his interception.

SCORE: Narbonne 28, Pittsburg 21

RECORDS: Pittsburg (9-3), Narbonne (12-3)

KEY STATS: Darien Butler had a game-high 10 tackles, a sack, a TFL and forced a fumble and USC-commit Raymond Scott had seven tackles and a sack to lead Narbonne’s defense. … Jacob Bandes had 2.5 sacks for Pittsburg.

PIVOTAL MOMENT: Taylor’s 70-yard scoop and score with a flip into the end zone (and a 15-yard excessive celebration penalty) was the most crucial moment of the game for Narbonne.

NOTES: The 30-mph winds all day played a major factor in the decisions teams made when they were playing into the wind. … Rutgers-committed QB Jalen Chatman was picked off by Willie Harts III on the opening drive. QB Justin Boyd’s 18-yard scramble led to a 1-yard TD run by Darrion Bartley to give Pittsburg a 7-0 lead with 5:43 left in the opening quarter. … Back-to-back sacks by Jacob Bandes and Justin Sanders forced a Narbonne punt into the wind. The punt only traveled 15 yards. Boyd connected with Harts for a 21-yard TD pass on the next play from scrimmage and the Pirates led 14-0 with 3:42 left in the first quarter. … Faced with a fourth-and-10, Narbonne decided to go for it from Pittsburg’s 42 and came up short. That led to a 40-yard TD pass from Boyd to Harts that made it 21-0 with 10:34 left in the half. … Narbonne’s defense finally stepped up with back-to-back sacks by Juice Tupua and Vandrew Epenesa, forcing the Pirates to punt into the wind from their own 12. The punt traveled 1 yard and Narbonne took over at the 13-yard line. The Gauchos cashed in with a 4-yard TD run by Jermar Jefferson, cutting the lead to 21-7 with 3:12 left in the half. … Narbonne got the ball back with 2:09 left after stopping Pittsburg’s fake punt on fourth-and-16. The Gauchos settled for a 35-yad FG try by Edgar Ramos that was good, but an illegal procedure penalty pushed them back 5 yards. Ramos connected from 40 yards this time and Narbonne cut the deficit to 21-10 with 23 seconds left in the half. … Narbonne’s Travis Faavae recovered a fumble at Pittsburg’s 42 on the third play of the second half that led to Jefferson’s 35-yard TD run, cutting the lead to 21-16 with 10:05 left in the third quarter. The Gauchos went for 2 and failed. … Narbonne had great field position again for the go-ahead score when it took over at its own 48 early in the fourth quarter. The Gauchos put together a 10-play drive with Chatman connecting with Aaron Magee for a 7-yard TD pass on fourth down to give Narbonne a 22-21 lead with 8:25 left. The 2-point conversion failed, but the Gauchos never relinquished the lead. … Chatman completed 10 of 19 passes for 57 yards, one TD and one interception and he rushed for 28 yards on 12 carries, Jefferson rushed for 158 yards and two TDs on 28 carries and Magee had five catches for 36 yards and a TD for Narbonne. … Boyd was 10 of 20 passing for 102 yards and two TDs, Harts had three catches for 55 yards and two TDs and rushed for 38 yards on six carries for Pittsburg. …

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