(Whittier) – Stephen Anderson threw for 161 yards and three touchdowns to lead Whittier Christian to a 28-17 win over Covina Friday night at Whittier College. With the victory the Heralds earned a trip to the CIF Mid-Valley Division Semi Finals next week.
Anderson also ran for 58 yards including 47 in the second half.
“He’s done that for us all year. He’s just a great athlete,” said Whittier Christian Coach Sergio Gradilla.
The Heralds trailed 17-14 early in the fourth after a 37 yard field goal by Covina’s Randy Robledo. But Whittier Christian responded with two consecutive touchdowns to put the game away.
First Whittier Christian put together a nine play, 68 yard drive to go up 21-17. Grant Escobar scored on a five yard run. The march was fueled by a runs of 18 by Escobar and 12 by Anderson.
After Covina went three and out, the Heralds went to work again. Taking over at their own 44, they used nine plays to go 56 yards for an 11 point lead that broke the Colts’ back. Escobar rumbled 29 yards on the second play of the series and Rudy Robles caught a two yard touchdown pass on a fourth down play.
Covina had one last shot but Billy Livingston’s long pass was picked off by Jordan Parker and all the Heralds had to do was take a knee.
In the first quarter both offenses were stopped on the first two series before Whittier Christian broke though. It was the defense that set it up as Robles intercepted Livingston and returned it to the Covina 34.
On the first play from scrimmage Anderson hit Cody Bronkar for 30 yards down to the four. Two plays later Anderson found Bronkar again for a three yard score.
On the ensuing possession, Covina struck quick. Livingston tossed a screen pass to Gevontray Ainsworth and Ainsworth did the rest. He raced nearly untouched through the Whittier Christian defense for a 58 yard touchdown to tie it.
The Heralds regained the lead late in the second quarter. A short punt and a penalty set up Whittier Christian at the Colt 44. They needed ten plays to get in the end zone. Anderson connected with Cameron Stanley for an 11 yard score to cap the drive for a 14-7 halftime advantage.
On the Heralds’ first possession of the third quarter, Covina’s Adam Vanderloop stepped in front of an Anderson pass and brought it back to the Whittier Christian 13. The Colts immediately took advantage of the turnover when Vinny Venegas hauled in a 14 yard pass from Livingston three plays later to get the Colts even.
Robledo’s field goal with 10:43 left in the fourth gave Covina the brief advantage until the Heralds bounced back for the win.
Livingston threw for 162 yards and a pair of scores with Venegas catching seven passes for 67 yards and a touchdown. But overall the Herald defense held the Colts in check.
“Our strength is our pass rush and we were able to put a lot of pressure on their quarterback,” said Whittier Christian DC Pete Karavedes. “We really wanted to get after the quarterback.”
Jeff Worthy, Robles, George Flynn, Daniel Abernathy, David Bissuet and Stanley all made big plays for the Herald defense.
Next week Whittier Christian hits the road to take on Olympic League rival Village Christian in the semi finals at Glendale High. On November 5 Whittier Christian beat Village Christian 29-26 at home.
“It should be a great game. We know Village is a tough team,” Gradilla said.
C 7 0 7 3 17
WC 7 7 0 14 28
WC Bronkar 3 yd pass from Anderson (Stanley Kick)
C Ainsworth 58 yd pass from Livingston (Robledo Kick)
WC Stanley 11 yd pass from Anderson (Stanley Kick)
C Venegas 14 yd pass from Livingston (Robledo Kick)
C Robledo 37 yd FG
WC Escobar 5 yd run (Stanley Kick)
WC Robles 2 yd pass from Anderson (Stanley Kick)