It had been five seasons since Carson High last appeared in the City Section football final, the longest drought in school history.
The Colts made the most of their opportunity by defeating Crenshaw, 20-10, Friday night before an estimated crowd of 6,000 at the Coliseum.
Top-seeded Carson (12-2), under first-year Coach John Aguirre, won its 10th championship, its first since 1993 when the Colts defeated Dorsey, 26-0.
"Everything went right for us this year," said Aguirre, who coached at Garfield from 1992-96 and was defensive coordinator at La Puente Bishop Amat in 1997 and '98. "Injuries never hurt us.
"Our whole team has been sick, but everyone was OK [on Friday]. Everything happened to help us."
Carson had reached the final with a powerful running game, but the Colts scored what proved to be the winning touchdown with a pass.
Carson quarterback Justin Cooper completed only three of 12 passes for 53 yards. However, his 29-yard connection with Michael Smith with 10:03 left concluded a nine-play, 63-yard drive and gave Carson a 14-10 lead.
The Colts added an insurance touchdown with 5:13 left on a five-yard run by James Robinson.
The victory helped Carson avenge an 18-7 loss to Crenshaw in the second week of the season. The Colts' only other loss came against Diamond Bar, which won its second consecutive Southern Section Division II title Friday.
Wendell Hunter gained 53 yards in nine carries and Robinson gained 72 yards in 13 carries for Carson, which won the Marine League and also defeated North Hollywood, Granada Hills and Dorsey in the playoffs.
Quarterback Devin Hollins completed 13 of 30 passes for 142 yards for Crenshaw (11-3), which was seeking its first major division City championship. The Cougars won the 3-A title in 1991.
Cougar running back Lee Webb gained 52 yards in 11 carries.
Crenshaw led, 10-7, at halftime.
Neither team scored during the first quarter, but they traded touchdowns in less than 20 seconds early in the second quarter.
Carson, which had not been able to capitalize on a first-quarter fumble recovery, scored with 11:37 left in the second quarter when Ronnie Faavae blocked a punt by Wember Santamaria. The ball wobbled in the air and landed in the arms of Carson linebacker Ashley Subingsubing, who ran 44 yards for a touchdown.
The Carson fans' euphoria, however, was short-lived.
On the ensuing kickoff, Crenshaw's Chris Bohannon bobbled the ball as he tried to pick it up off the ground at the 17-yard line near the left sideline. By the time he gained control, Carson players were upon him.
But Bohannon, a senior, sprinted to his right and broke loose down the sideline for an 83-yard touchdown.
Crenshaw's opportunistic defense, which forced eight turnovers in the first meeting between the teams, made its presence felt later in the quarter.
Robinson fumbled a handoff and Crenshaw recovered at the Colts' 34 with 1:15 left in the half.
Hollins completed three of seven passes during an eight-play drive that culminated with Santamaria's 29-yard field goal with nine seconds left in the half.
Crenshaw, the champion of the Coliseum League, beat Bell, 24-0, Granada Hills Kennedy, 42-21, and San Pedro, 34-13, en route to the championship game.
Prep Football Championships
* DIV. I ADVANCE
Mater Dei and Long Beach Poly will meet for the third consecutive time in the title game tonight at Edison Field. Page 9
* City, Carson 20, Crenshaw 10
* City, Banning 40, Gardena 32
* Div. II, Diamond Bar 17, Upland 14
* Div. IV, Westlake 24, S. Luis Obispo 21
* Div. V, R. Cucmnga 30, Paloma Val. 22
* Div. VI, Newport Harbor 19, Irvine 18
* Div. IX, Bonita 24, Brea Olinda 14
* Div. X, Paso Robles 24, Monrovia 10