CENTENNIAL 57 NORTH 55
By G. Montgomery
Riverside-Corona Centennial reigned supreme on Friday night. In what will be remembered for a long time as the greatest high school playoff game in Riverside County history.
The Huskies of Centennial outlasted J.W. Norths Huskies to recapture the Division V crown. To say this was a dog fight would do little to describe the intensity, desire and passion displayed by these young men. A little over three hours after the coin flip the contest was still not settled, stalled at nearly the identical score of last years contest, in which North won in a single overtime and went on to win the Division V title. This time Centennial(12-2) would match Norths every move. The two teams were tied 7-7 at the half. Centennial got on track and scored three touchdowns during the third quarter, holding North to one touchdown and seemingly taking command of the contest. The fourth quarter belonged to North and the Morton twins, scoring 21 unanswered points to regain the lead at 35-28 with 7:42 to play. Centennial failed to move the ball on the ensuing possession and was forced to kick the ball back to North.
With the lead, the ball and 4:53 left to play, it appeared that North would repeat last years feat. Once again Centennial wouldnt fold and stopped North forcing them to punt. To get to overtime Centennial completed a 74-yard, 13-play drive reaching the 9-yard line with no time outs. After two incomplete passes, beautifully defended by North, Centennial was starring at 4th and goal and a repeat of last seasons defeat. Obviously, it was time to hand it to 21(Jackson). Terrell Jackson carried the ball 41 times for 195 yards all eight of his teams touchdowns. Norths Dion Morton threw for 37 times, completing 18 passes for 260 yards with only one interception. The final two point conversion attempt was picked off by Centennials Jody Johnson. Twin brother Damon Morton caught 11 passes for 158 yards and completed a 44-yard pass play.
Morton doubled most of the night which allowed Joe Paredes to amass 92 yards on three catches. It was two heavy weights, just going at it. Theres no loser in this game, just a team that didnt win, said Norths coach Steve Hagerty. Ironically one the factors helping to decide the contest was unplanned. An injury to kicker, Adam Alverez, who had made seven extra point attempt, forced Centennial to go for the two point conversion on the final touchdown. That two points proved to be the difference this year. I suspect that we will see these two teams square of again soon.
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