By Tim Peterson
(Covina) – South Hills perfect season came to an end Friday night in a 42-14 loss to Lawndale in the Division 2-A State Regional Finals at Covina District Field.
Lawndale led 20-0 at the half and South Hills was never able to get back in it. The Huskies were down 26-0 late in the third quarter before they finally found the endzone on a seven-yard run by Juaquin Elliott.
Lawndale responded with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Jalon Daniels to Stan Livingstone on the first play of the fourth quarter to ice it.
USC commit Jordan Wilmore did a majority of the damage for the Cardinals rushing for 276 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries. He got things started in the first quarter with an 18-yard touchdown run with 7:19 left in the first quarter for a 6-0 Lawndale lead.
South Hills was unable to get anything going offensively punting on its first four possessions but was still down only six until late in the second quarter. Wilmore needed just one play to change that score as Lawndale took over at its own 12 yard line after a South Hills punt. On the first play from scrimmage, Wilmore hit the corner and was gone down the left sideline 88 yards for the touchdown. The extra point attempt was blocked.
On the next series the Cardinals drove 76 yards on eight plays as Makell Esteen hauled in a seven-yard scoring pass from Daniels with 11 seconds left in the half. Daniels ran in the two point conversion for a 20-0 lead at the break.
Wilmore got loose again in the third quarter racing 30 yards for a score to cap an 81-yard drive for a 26-0 lead.
Elliott finished a nine-play, 79-yard march with a seven-yard TD run with 2:30 left in the third quarter. Any hopes of South Hills getting back in it vanished when Lawndale responded with an 80-yard scoring drive. Daniels to Livingstone for 19 yards on the first play in the fourth and another run by Daniels made it 34-7 and the Cards were headed to the State Final.
Elliott scored from 19 yards out late in the fourth for his second touchdown of the night to make it 34-14. Lawndale added a little window dressing with 3:06 left on a one-yard TD blast by Rashad Sylvester.
Daniels passed for 168 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 126 to compliment Wilmore’s big night. Livingstone caught eight passes for 135 yards and a score.
For South Hills Elliott had 16 carries for 80 yards and the two touchdowns. Khalil Ali threw for 108 yards but did toss an interception in the fourth quarter.
Despite the defeat South Hills had a memorable season. The Huskies finished 14-1 overall and won the CIF Division 6 Championship.
Lawndale, the Division 5 champs, improved to 13-2 overall and will play in the State Final next weekend.