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A Cause for Celebration

Marmonte: Hanna hauls in touchdown pass in final minute to give Newbury Park 32-25 victory over top-ranked Westlake.

October 16, 1998|STEVE HENSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

THOUSAND OAKS — Talk about instant replay.

Because the marathon Marmonte League battle between Westlake and Newbury Park high schools dragged on for more than three hours, the tape-delayed telecast on Fox Sports West 2 actually began before the game ended.

But any player who rushed home to watch would have stayed up past his bedtime to see Cause Hanna haul in a pass from Nick Czernek over the middle, shake off a defender and score from 47 yards with 16 seconds to play to give Newbury Park a 32-25 victory Thursday night.

Westlake refused to turn off the lights. After recovering a Newbury Park squib kick at midfield, Zac Wasserman completed passes of 20 yards to Travis Campbell and 29 yards to Kevin Howard to put the ball on the Newbury Park one-yard line with one second to play. But Wasserman overthrew Campbell and the game ended.

"We won with smoke and mirrors," Newbury Park Coach George Hurley said. "The kids just refused to give up. I don't think my heart can take this if we play this way every week."

Both quarterbacks rode a roller coaster of mistakes and remarkable plays. Wasserman had five passes intercepted, including four in the second half, and Czernek had four picked off.

Czernek was persistent if errant, throwing a school-record 56 passes, including 37 in the first half. He completed 24 for 342 yards and three touchdowns. Somehow, Newbury Park (5-1, 3-0 in league play) found time to run 26 times, including 13 for 86 yards by tailback Ryan Shipton.

A one-yard touchdown run by Shipton gave Newbury Park an 18-17 lead late in the third quarter. Most of the fourth quarter dissolved into the teams trading interceptions. After Tyler Johnson returned one 27 yards to the Westlake eight with three minutes to play, Czernek hit Brian Swett from three yards to extend the lead to 25-17.

Westlake (5-1, 1-1), ranked No. 1 in The Times' regional poll, roared back, scoring in two plays after Chris Catalano returned the kickoff to midfield. Julian Lambert, who had 88 yards in 15 carries, dashed 20 yards for the touchdown and a leaping reception by Kevin Howard for a two-point conversion tied the score, 25-25, with 2:18 to play.

The teams traded punts and Newbury Park took over at the Westlake 47 with 35 seconds to play. On third and 10, Czernek hit Hanna, who also had a 21-yard touchdown reception in the first half and has 11 touchdowns this season.

"We convinced the kids at halftime we could win," Hurley said. "We had to do some wild things to beat a team of that quality."

Wasserman, who entered the game with only one interception, was 19 of 39 for 295 yards. Campbell, who has a slightly separated shoulder but received clearance to play, had five catches for 60 yards.

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