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Cerna's Scoring Catch Gives Poly 1st Victory : Football: Touchdown reception in fourth quarter helps Parrots stymie Grant, 28-22.


VAN NUYS — He was shut out in the second and third quarters, but Poly High wide receiver Jaime Cerna came up big in the first and fourth quarters to lead the Parrots to a 28-22 victory over Grant in a Valley Pac-8 Conference opener on Friday at Grant.

Cerna, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound senior, caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ricardo Gamboa with 8 minutes 49 seconds left in the game to give Poly a 26-22 lead. Gamboa ran for the two-point conversion.

Cerna, who had seven receptions for 93 yards, caught five passes for 66 yards in the first quarter and two for 27 on the game-winning drive for Poly (1-3). Cerna also caught a 13-yard scoring pass in the first quarter.

"We felt like we could throw the ball on them, but after the first quarter, they started playing a little bump-and-run on me," Cerna said. "Plus we wanted to establish the run."

Gamboa completed eight of 14 passes for 129 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

The Parrots' final scoring march came after defensive lineman Ariel Navarro recovered a Di-Onte Smith fumble at the Poly 34-yard line late in the third quarter.

Smith, the area's leading City Section rusher entering the game, gained 154 yards in 23 carries and had touchdown runs of 66, two and seven yards for Grant (1-2-1). His seven-yard run had given Grant a 22-20 lead in the third quarter.

Smith also fumbled four times. Poly drove for touchdowns after recovering two.

During Poly's final march, Leaford Hackett (eight carries for 59 yards, one touchdown) gained 34 yards in five carries.

The 5-7, 155-pound Hackett, who did most of his running from the wide-receiver position, had a 66-yard touchdown run and a 90-yard kickoff return nullified by penalties.

Poly had been outscored, 119-34, in its first three games.

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