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Birmingham Outlasts Palisades

November 17, 2000|STEVE GALLUZZO

If last week's loss to Chatsworth didn't serve as a wake-up call for Birmingham High, the first half of its City Championship playoff opener certainly did.

The No. 5-seeded Patriots (10-1) scored on six of their nine possessions of the second half to erase a 20-6 halftime deficit and held on to defeat No. 12-seeded Palisades, 53-47, Thursday night at Birmingham.

Scott Jensen completed only one of five passes for minus-three yards in the first half, but finished eight of 17 for 224 yards, including touchdowns of 30 yards to Ramal Porter and 59 yards to Sammy Johnson. Jensen also scored on a 78-yard run.

Officials ruled that Palisades running back Lionel Gentry was stripped of the ball before his knee touched the ground, and Birmingham's Chad Green recovered at the Patriots' 30-yard line with 1:07 to play, preserving the victory.

Birmingham scored 31 points in the third quarter, taking its first lead, 22-20, on Kevin McCleary's 17-yard touchdown run and a conversion run by D'Andre Sewell with 8:12 left in the quarter. The Patriots never trailed after that.

McCleary rushed for 82 yards and three touchdowns in 13 carries, and Sewell added 52 yards and one touchdown in 13 carries.

City passing leader David Koral of Palisades completed seven of 10 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown before suffering a broken arm early in the second quarter. He was replaced by wide receiver Greig Carlson, who threw for 231 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for two scores.

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