By Tim Peterson
(Covina) – South Hills overcame a sluggish first half and used a big fourth quarter to beat Pacifica (Oxnard) 42-21 Thursday night in the first round of the CIF Division 7 Playoffs at Covina District Field.
South Hills trailed early in the second quarter 14-7 but had manged to take a 28-21 lead entering the fourth quarter. The Huskies finally put away pesky Pacifica, who finished 2-9 overall, with two quick scores. First they put together a 60-yard drive with Zion Naulls going the last 33 yards for the score.
Nicholas Lariviere picked off a pass on the next series to set up another touchdown. This time the Huskies went 40 yards on a short field with Lariviere the beneficiary of a 15-yard strike from Rj Stearns to make it 42-21 with 7:11 left. South Hills scored 14 points in just under three minutes and that was the old ballgame.
South Hills took the early lead courtesy of a Pacific miscue. The Tritons botched a snap on a punt attempt and the Huskies took over on the Pacific five-yard line. On the next play Stearns scored on a five-yard jaunt. Pacifica bounced back later in the first quarter on a double pass. Quarterback RJ Maria hit Alan Johnson who pulled up and fired a 62-yard touchdown pass to Miles Williams who scampered into the endzone to tie it at seven.
Early in the second quarter Pacifica pieced together an 11-play, 80 yard drive that was aided by a couple of penalties to take a 14-7 lead. Savonne Perris Farmer hauled in a 22-yard TD strike from Maria to cap the drive.
The Huskies tied it just before halftime courtesy of another Pacifica mistake on a punt. The boot was low and hit the back of a Triton teammate giving South Hills the ball at the Pacifica 32. Five plays later Stearns scored on an 18-yard run to make it 14-14 at the half.
Naulls and Stearns both found the end zone in the third quarter on long touchdown runs. Naulls broke through the secondary for a 41-yard burst and later in the quarter Stearns scrambled out of trouble in the pocket, turned upfield and turned it into a 40-yard touchdown sprint.
Pacifica had one last murmur of protest when they marched 80-yards on ten plays with Allan Johnson scoring on a six-yard run.
South Hills then iced it in the final quarter.
Stearns had 15 carries for 139 yards and three touchdowns for South Hills. Naulls had 105 yards and two TDs on 12 carries.
Maria threw for 237 yards and a touchdown for Pacifica, but he was hurt by the interception.
The Huskies now advance to the second round where they will face the winner of the Burbank-Tustin game.