Centennial (Corona, Calif.) had a chance to take a leap toward the top of the California Southern Section in the semifinal game against St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) on Friday.
After scoring a touchdown with eight seconds remaining to cut the deficit to one point, the Huskies could choose whether to send the game to overtime with an extra point attempt or go for the win with a two-point conversion.
The Huskies went for the latter in a game with nearly 90 total points scored and a missed PAT already. Quarterback Husan Longstreet faked the handoff to running back Cornell Hatcher Jr., who had scored five touchdowns throughout the night. Longstreet took the ball himself, slightly slipped, and was tackled by a pair of St. John Bosco defenders.
Centennial had one more chance, recovering an onside kick at the Bosco 41-yard line, but was prevented from moving the ball any further.
St. John Bosco stops the two-point conversion. 43-42 lead over Centennial with 8 seconds left. pic.twitter.com/MbMpicImrY
— eric sondheimer (@latsondheimer) November 18, 2023
With that, the Braves eked out a 43-42 win and secured yet another CIF-SS Div. I championship game appearance against Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.).
Bosco quarterback Caleb Sanchez led the offense by passing for six touchdown passes and 330 yards on 13-for-23 passing, according to the San Bernadino Sun. His first three completions of the game were touchdowns of 23 yards, 62 yards and 65 yards, respectively.
On Centennial’s end, Hatcher was unstoppable, rushing 221 yards for five touchdowns on 45 carries, according to the Los Angeles Times.
It’s hard to overstate how good Hatcher was this season. In 12 games, he rushed for more than 2,300 yards and 42 touchdowns. He had at least 100 yards in every game except one — when he got 99 yards on 10 carries.
As close as Centennial came, they missed out on opportunities that could have won them the game. The Huskies missed a field goal, an extra-point attempt, and a pair of two-point conversions trying to make up for the lost points.
The loss for Centennial represents the plight of playing in the Trinity League. During the regular season, the Huskies played a demanding schedule, testing themselves against Mater Dei, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) and Liberty (Peoria, Ariz.). They cruised through division play and established themselves as a clear top-three team in California. They had a game plan that helped them put up 42 against Bosco.
Yet in the end, it ended the same way it has year in and year out for more than half a decade: Bosco vs. Mater Dei for the title.