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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL : Late Field Goal Lifts Channel Islands to Win Over Camarillo

October 25, 1987|TIM BROWN | Times Staff Writer

John Sunia could not raise his arms over his head but, then again, he didn't have to.

Two officials and the Channel Islands homecoming crowd did it for him, just as his 31-yard field goal sailed through the uprights to give the Raiders a 24-21 Marmonte League victory over Camarillo on Saturday at Hueneme High.

Sunia kicked the field goal, his fourth of the season in seven attempts, with nine seconds left in the game and two minutes after Camarillo's Nathan Avery returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown and a 21-21 tie. It was also 15 minutes after the strong safety injured his right shoulder, forcing him to sit out most of the fourth quarter.

"I was trying to think, no pressure, just like practice," Sunia said. "As soon as I kicked it I could feel it was good."

The scoring flurry in the final 2 1/2 minutes contrasted with a physical, defensive struggle in the 45 minutes that preceded it. Channel Islands' committee backfield, which features three fullbacks and tailback John Johnson, gained 224 total yards, 56 by Johnson.

Bill Bell, Camarillo's committee of one, gained 71 yards on 21 carries. Bell came into the game with 808 yards on 133 carries.

However, it was the passing of sophomore Mark Contreras that gave Channel Islands (6-1, 3-0 in league play) the chance for victory. The quarterback transferred from Santa Clara in midseason a year ago and became eligible only last week.

Contreras replaced starter Vince Medina in the third quarter and completed passes of 33 and nine yards on the Raiders' final drive to set up the winning field goal.

The frenzied finish began when Channel Islands took a 19-14 lead with 2:36 left on a five-yard touchdown run by Johnson, his 11th score of the season. The junior tailback then ran for a two-point conversion to give the Raiders a seven-point advantage.

Avery returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown to even the score, 21-21, however. Camarillo (3-4, 1-2) had taken a 14-13 lead when receiver Gil Valencia caught a one-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Donald Dodson with nearly six minutes left in the third quarter. The touchdown, Valencia's eighth of the season, wiped out the Raiders' 13-0 head start.

Channel Islands drove 54 yards in just four plays on its first possession. Johnson carried the final 14 yards to give the Raiders a 7-0 lead 4:40 into the game. Sunia converted the point-after.

Fullback E. J. Miller ran 38 yards through the middle of the Scorpions' defense with 9:21 left in the first half. The play was the seventh in a 63-yard drive that was conducted exclusively via the run.

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