By Tim Peterson
(Downey) – Not until Cathedral quarterback Aidan Moss’ pass fell incomplete with 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter did Downey know that it had beat the Phantoms 55-54 Friday night at Allen Layne Stadium to advance to the CIF Division 4 Finals. The win also marked the 100th career victory for Downey head coach Jack Williams.
The Vikings did win however they also fought, persevered, escaped, and ultimately survived a one-point win over a Cathedral team that refused to die. Downey scored first and then led 28-20 at halftime. But Cathedral fought back to take its first lead in the third quarter and was up by two touchdowns with just over seven minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The Vikings then scored the last two touchdowns including a 6-yard touchdown pass from Aidan Chiles to Ian Hernandez with 1:22 left for a 55-54 lead that proved to be the game winner. Downey went for two but failed leaving the door open for a potential game winning field goal by Cathedral.
The Phantoms drove into Downey territory to the 46 but Moss’ fourth down pass down the right sideline was too long and fell to the turf as the Downey sideline erupted. A couple of knees by the Vikings then killed the clock.
Cathedral, down by eight points at the half, scored the first two touchdowns of the third quarter to take its first lead. Ross Nickson hauled in a 11-yard touchdown pass from Moss and on the next possession Ramahj Jones capped a 70-yard drive with a 3-yard run to give the Phantoms a 34-28 advantage.
Downey responded with a 3-yard TD run by Jayden Crutchfield for a 35-34 lead after a 49-yard run by Crutchfield put the Vikings in the red zone.
But Cathedral was just getting started. Jones scored again on a 2-yard jaunt and after stopping Downey with an interception of Chiles in the endzone by Tyrelle Wilson, Antonio Walton took a screen pass from Moss and raced 80 yards for a touchdown and just like that it was 48-35 Cathedral with 10:01 left in the fourth.
After Chiles got loose for a 56-yard run to get Downey within six again, Jones finished a march with a 5-yard touchdown run to make it 54-42 with 7:26 left.
Just when it looked like Downey was dead and buried the Vikings rose from the grave as Bryant Carey returned the ensuing kickoff 81 yards for a touchdown to make it 54-49.
The Vikes then forced Cathedral into its first punt of the night and took over at their own 36. Eight plays later Chiles hit Hernandez in the endzone and it was 55-54. The Downey defense then made one more stop to finish it.
Downey took the 28-20 lead in the first half on 3 touchdown passes by Chiles to Hernandez for 14, Crutchfield for 35 and a 46-yard catch and carry by Carey. Isaac Madrid also kicked two field goals.
Cathedral tried to keep pace with an 85-yard kick-off return by Walton and a 10-yard TD run by Moss. Jaiden Espadas also booted a pair of field goals.
Then things go really crazy in the second half before Downey finally prevailed.
“I didn’t think it would be in the fifties but I knew we were in for a battle. Their offense does a great job and their coordinator really uses their quarterback Moss well.” Williams said. “They’re a dangerous team. I told our guys to keep playing when we were down by two touchdowns and that’s when we had the kickoff return and turned it around.”
For Cathedral Moss threw for 283 yards and a touchdown on 23 completions. Jones rushed for 125 yards and 3 touchdowns on 15 carries and Ramon Galvez III hauled in 9 catches for 125 yards.
Chiles completed 13 passes for 240 yards and 4 touchdowns and also ran for a score. Carey had a touchdown receiving and a kickoff return for a score and Hernandez had 6 receptions for 73 yards and 2 TDs. Add it all up and its a 55-54 Downey victory.
Cathedral finished the season at 10-3 overall while the Vikings will travel to Cypress next week for the CIF Division 4 championship game.