(Glendale) – Grant Escobar bolted up the middle and crashed into the end zone for a two point conversion to give Whittier Christian a dramatic 43-42 overtime win over Village Christian Friday night in the Mid-Valley Division Semi Finals at Glendale High. The Heralds will play either San Dimas or Monrovia next week in the Finals.
After Village Christian scored first in the overtime period to take a 42-35 lead, Whittier Christian used just four plays to get in the end zone and cut it to 42-41. Escobar carried the ball three times down to the nine yard line and then Stephen Anderson hit Cody Bronkar for a touchdown to set the stage.
The Heralds called a time out and then Coach Sergio Gradilla and staff came to a conclusion- let’s go for two and end it right here.
Rudy Robles lined up in the backfield and defensive lineman Jeff Worthy was brought in to pave the way. Escobar took the handoff from Anderson, followed Robles and the big boys up front and landed in the end zone to touch off a celebration.
Escobar finished the night with 78 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown to go along with the game winner.
Village Christian gave the Heralds fits all night. Mainly behind the running of Amjed Aboul-hosn, the Crusaders jumped out to leads of 13-0 and 28-14 in the first half only to see Whittier Christian battle back.
The Crusaders scored on their first possession, going 67 yards on eight plays with Aboul-hosn capping the drive with a five yard run.
After the Heralds went three and out, Village again marched down the field. This time the drive covered 73 yards and again it was Aboul-hosn finishing with a 13 yard TD jolt up the gut.
Early in the second quarter, Whittier Christian topped off a 63 yard scoring drive on an Anderson six yard scoring toss to Robles to cut it to 13-7.
On the ensuing kick off, Village Christian coughed it up and Taylor Smith fell on it to set up the Heralds at the Crusader
39. Five plays later, Anderson hit a leaping Cameron Stanley on a 27 yard pass play in the corner of the end zone. The extra point gave the Heralds a 14-13 lead.
Things turned quickly for Whittier Christian though as Aboul-hosn scored his third touchdown of the night on a two yard run on Village Christian’s next possession.
Tyler McGinniss stepped in front of an Anderson pass on the ensuing series and returned it 23 yards for a touchdown. Josh Rolls run for two points made it 28-14.
Two touchdowns down? No problem. Stanley made another brilliant play hauling in a 39 yard touchdown strike from Anderson to get the Heralds back to within a touchdown. Worthy forced a fumble in VC territory on the following possession and Whittier Christian cashed in when Stanley (who else?) caught a 16 yard pass from (who else?) Anderson for a touchdown. The two teams took a deep breath and went to their neutral corners tied at 28 at the half.
Both teams were held scoreless in the third but the Heralds broke through with a score late in the fourth. Escobar scored on a two yard run with 8:19 left.
The lead held until 1:40 left in regulation, when Kyle Custer found Cody Burns on a post corner route for a 21 yard game tying throw. The play came on fourth and 21 after Robles sacked Custer for a 13 yard loss.
Whittier Christian had a shot with four seconds left but Stanley’s 38 yard field goal attempt fell short.
The missed kick just prolonged the agony for Village Christian as the Heralds claimed the victory in overtime.
Aboul- hosn, the primary offensive weapon for Village Christian, rushed for 156 yards and four touchdowns. Burns caught four passes for 54 yards and a score.
Anderson completed 18 of 33 for 302 yards and five touchdowns. Daniel Chacon had four receptions for 74 yards and Bronkar caught six for 93 and a score. Stanley was Anderson’s favorite target with seven catches for 137 yards and three touchdowns.
The Heralds now wait for the Monrovia- San Dimas winner.
WC 0 28 0 7 8 43
VC 13 15 0 7 7 42
VC 8:46 Aboul-hosn 5 yd run (Eric Lee Kick)
VC 2:38 Aboul-hosn 13 yd run (Lee Kick)
WC 11:50 Robles 6 yd pass from Anderson (Stanley Kick)
WC 10:21 Stanley 27 yd pass from Anderson (Stanley Kick)
VC 7:15 Aboul-hosn 2 yd run (Rolls Run- 2pt)
VC 6:39 McGinness 23 yd Int. Ret. (Lee Kick)
WC 4:55 Stanley 39 yd pass from Anderson (Kick Failed)
WC Stanley 16 yd pass from Anderson (Escobar Run- 2 pt)
WC 8:19 Escobar 2 yd run (Lee Kick)
VC 1:40 Burns 21 yd pass from Custer (Lee Kick)
VC Aboul-hosn 5 yd run (Lee Kick)
WC Bronkar 9 yd pass from Anderson (Escobar Run – 2 pt)