Dana Hills and University high schools staged a wild, frantic ending to their final nonleague games of the season as host Dana Hills pulled out a 20-17 victory before 2,000 fans.
Jason Burden, Dana Hills running back, couldn't bear to watch the finish, sitting alone on the Dolphin bench with his head in his hands. He had just scored the winning touchdown for Dana Hills (4-1) on an 11-yard pass from Donny Macintyre with 34 seconds left.
However, as was typical Friday night, the game wasn't decided just yet. With University, at its own 30, University quarterback Jeff Bailey lofted a pass downfield toward running back Gary Smarr.
Somehow, Smarr out-jumped four defenders to haul in the pass at the Dana Hills 30 with 14 seconds left to play.
After Bailey was sacked for a three-yard loss by Brent Gaut, Jim Roberson tried a 50-yard field goal that fell short as time ran out.
Only then could Burden and his Dana Hills teammates celebrate.
"It was exciting that's for sure," Don Douglass, the Dana Hills coach said. " 'Uni' is a good club. If we played them tough, and I guess we did, that's really good for us. They are probably the best club we've faced to date."
Dana Hills, trailing 17-13 with 3:06 left, began its winning drive in less than promising fashion. Macintyre misfired his first two passes. A completion to receiver Willie Joe Philbin gave the Dolphins a first down at the Trojan 47.
Two incompletions separated by a 12-yard loss on a sack, put the Dolphins in a big hole. Macintyre and Burden teamed up for one of the biggest plays of the game.
On fourth and 22 at their own 41, Macintyre hit Burden with a short screen pass that ended 25 yards later. Another Macintyre pass, for 22 yards to Zack Hickman, put Dana Hills at the Trojan 12. One play later, Macintyre found Burden open in the end zone with 34 seconds remaining.
Macintyre was 6 of 15 for 99 yards, but completed his last three on the winning drive.
"Macintyre is a pressure guy he really plays well under pressure," Douglass said.
"We told our kids to watch the screen over the middle," Mark Cunningham, University coach, said of the Dolphins' big fourth down pass to Burden. "We had a guy there waiting for it, but they did a good job of blocking him out of the way. Shoot, they (Dana Hills) executed the play perfectly."
University (3-2) took the lead, 17-13, three minutes into the fourth quarter on a 75-yard run by wing back Jim Roberson and appeared to have weathered a shaky third quarter. The Trojans lost a 10-0 halftime lead when Burden (100 yards in 9 carries) scored on a 57-yard run with 3:46 left in the third, giving the Dolphins a short-lived 13-10 lead.
Dana Hills scored its first touchdown on another strange play.
Bailey, also the Trojan punter, tried to field a low snap from center on fourth down at the University 41. The ball skimmed the ground, through Bailey's legs.
While trying to scoop the ball up, he booted it toward his own goal line. Before he could catch up with it, he was hit by Gaut. The ball rolled to the 10 before Brandon Migge, a Dolphin special teams player, picked it up and ran in for an easy touchdown.