SAN DIEGO — Kicker Aaron Blair blamed himself for the four-point loss USDHS suffered to La Jolla eight days ago. In that showdown of City Western League unbeatens, Blair missed an extra point and a 46-yard field goal attempt.
So entering the Dons' 19-14 come-from-behind victory over Kearny in an equally crucial Western League game Friday at Mesa College, Blair's confidence was shattered.
After running back Brady Walker bolted 49 yards up the middle for a touchdown and a 6-0 lead for USDHS (8-1, 2-1) in the first quarter, Blair, a 6-foot-1 senior, stepped up to the tee and missed the extra point.
Kearny (7-2, 2-1) broke into a celebration. And behind running back James Curtis, who rushed for 129 yards on 18 carries, the Komets also broke open a 14-6 lead until 35 seconds remained in the first half.
That's when Blair, after a USDHS drive stalled at the Kearny 34-yard line, was sent out to attempt a 52-yard field goal from the left hash mark. \o7 Boom\f7 . Blair's kick went so high it nearly got lost in the black sky, and it descended barely inside the right upright. \o7 Good\f7 . Blair's boot tied one by Helix's Ed Evilsizor for the fourth-longest field goal in section history.
It resurrected the Dons, and it buoyed Blair, who kicked another field goal, a 25-yarder with 2:23 left.
"I've been missing more than I've been making them," Blair said. "I've been mad at myself. I \o7 had \f7 to put (the 52-yarder) through for the team. I didn't care how far it was. I just had to get it through."
Blair sprinted to the sideline with both arms hoisted and flashing No. 1s. Kearny still led, 14-9, but got a message that there is more to USDHS than Chris Lewis. Lewis entered the game as the county's fourth leading rusher with 1,317 yards at 8.9 per carry. But Lewis was stopped by a Kearny defense that stacked the line of scrimmage.
Lewis finished with only 25 yards on 13 carries. The Komets also were not fooled by the option offense the Dons broke out for this game. Walker's scoring run and a 31-yard touchdown pass from Mike Sexton to Chris Rowe in the fourth quarter were USDHS's only big plays until Lewis--who had minus-three yards rushing after three quarters--broke loose for 20 yards on a sweep with 4:05 left and the Dons clinging to a 16-14 lead. That's when Blair split the uprights again.
Kearny, after a 7-0 start, suffered its second consecutive loss after a 42-7 nonleague loss to Point Loma. Curtis ran for a 67-yard touchdown, and quarterback Sam Page scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak in the first half. The Komets, shut out in the second half, nearly rallied behind 19- and 31-yard completions by Page, but two sacks by Joe Gundlefinger stopped the final drive.
"Blair came through, our quarterback came through, Rowe came through," USDHS Coach Ron Hamamoto said. "Kearny's a great football team. This was a great win for us."