Too many, too late, two points

The Vista Murrieta Broncos lost the CIF Southern Section Inland Division Ford Football Championship game to the Corona Centennial Huskies 30-28. The game can be summed up by too many mistakes, too late on the comeback, and two points short on the scoreboard.

The Broncos scored on their first possession, capping off a 70-yard four-play drive with a 45-yard touchdown pass from Nick Stevens to Darius Geater to make the score 7-0. The drive took less than three minutes.

Centennial QB Robert Webber finished a six-play, 80-yard drive with a 22-yard QB keeper. The drive took 1:53 and tied the game at 7.

Vista Murrieta then went 80 yards in four plays in a minute-and-a half and scored on a 12-yard run by Keshawn Holmes to retake the lead at 14-7.

The Broncos had another opportunity to score on their next possession, but the five-play drive ended with an interception at the goal line. Centennial then went 82 yards in five plays in a minute and 18 seconds to tie the game at 14-14 on a one-yard dive.

In the third quarter, Vista Murrieta’s opening seven-play drive ended with a fumble at the 12-yard line. Their next possession – an eight-play drive 58-yard drive – ended in an interception at the one-yard line. The Broncos defense scored a safety on a sack in the end zone to break the tie, 16-14.

The lead was short-lived, however, as Centennial went 60 yards on two pass plays within 14 seconds to end the third quarter ahead 20-16.

Even with the uncharacteristic play of the Broncos, they never gave up. They fought hard and overcame an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter with 9:58 left to play to pull within two points of tying the game with 1:18 remaining to play. Sua Cravens capped off a scoring drive with a 14-yard touchdown run. Following an injury timeout, the Broncos setup in a power formation planning to handoff the ball to Cravens for a two-point conversion attempt. They failed to get the ball snapped before the play clock expired and were penalized five yards for delay of game. With the ball moved back to the eight-yard line the run play was switched to a pass to Cravens. Stevens hit Cravens on a fade in the end zone but the Centennial defender managed to deflect the ball away. The failed conversion attempt left the Broncos two points short of their goal to defend the title they won last season 35-28 against Centennial. 

The Broncos had five opportunities to put points on the board denied by turnovers and a missed 20-yard field goal in the red zone. The Broncos lost a fumble inside the 20, and quarterback Nick Stevens also threw three interceptions in the red zone. Coach Candaele said, “You lose championships against good football teams when you leave all those points on the table.”

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