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PREP FOOTBALL / Southern Section Playoffs

Western Has Drive to Stop Comeback

Division IX: Ground attack makes the difference in 39-32 victory over Pacifica.


Pacifica's offense gave the Mariners a chance for a dramatic comeback. But the defense hadn't stopped Western's running game all night, and that didn't change with the game on the line.

With the score tied and the momentum swinging toward Pacifica, Western drove 71 yards in six running plays to put the finishing touches on a 39-32 victory in the Southern Section Division IX second-round game at Western High.

Fullback Trevell Jackson, who rushed for 246 yards on Pacifica's beleaguered defenders, scored the game-winner on a 26-yard run with 44 seconds left. Western (10-2) advanced to next Friday's semifinals against top-seeded La Mirada.

Western rushed for 478 yards and had three players with more than 100 yards. Pacifica Coach Bill Craven, whose fourth-seeded team rebounded from an 18-point third-quarter deficit, looked as bewildered as his defense most of the game.

"The kids showed some heart," Craven said. "I don't know what to tell you. They had some good backs and we missed some tackles."

In addition to Jackson's big night, tailback Jamiah Williamson rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown in nine carries and wingback Will Ruffin had 118 yards and two touchdowns in nine carries.

Jackson said his team simply followed the game plan.

"We figured that their defense was soft and that we were going to ram it down their throats," he said.

The ramming started early. Before the first quarter ended, the Mariners trailed, 18-0. There was nothing fancy about the play-calling--traps, end-arounds, a few quarterback sneaks.

Everything worked.

Ruffin scored on end-arounds from 31 and 15 yards. Jackson busted a trap 68 yards up the middle. Western led, 26-7, and, 32-14, midway through the third quarter before Pacifica began its comeback.

The Mariners (8-4) closed to 32-21 on a leaping 17-yard catch in the back of the end zone by Brett Woods on a pass from Matt Reis. After Jeff Weber intercepted Jason Baughman's pass in the end zone, Pacifica marched 80 yards in nine plays to make it 32-29. The drive--capped by Willis Manley's two-yard plunge--was keyed by Reis, who ran for 34 yards and passed for 19.

Pacifica tied it, 32-32, with 2:57 left on a 27-yard field goal by Weber. But that's when Western's running game took over.

Jackson started slowly with no gain on a sweep, but he followed it with a 17-yard scamper to the Western 46. Williamson then dashed 15 yards to Pacifica 39. Jackson ran through three tacklers for 14 more. A holding call nullified a 19-yard gain for Williamson. But Jackson, running with cramps in both legs, scored on the next play from 26 yards.

"I just ran with all my heart," Jackson said.

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