YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Keeling Comes Through to Lead La Habra Past Bonita


Mike Keeling helped La Habra score two touchdowns in the game's waning minutes for an 18-9 victory over visiting La Verne Bonita in the first round of the Southern Section Division IX playoffs Friday.

After Bonita had taken a 9-6 lead with 5 minutes 8 seconds left on Sean Bernal's third field goal of the game--a 30-yarder--the Highlanders' offense finally woke up.

Starting at its 27-yard line, La Habra quarterback Keeling connected with Pascual Alvarez for a 23-yard pass play, which was the longest of the game for the Highlanders.

Six plays later, La Habra was faced with a third-and-12 on the Bearcat 35. Keeling stepped up to avoid two defenders and broke through the middle untouched for a touchdown, giving La Habra a 12-9 lead.

With the extra point failing, Bonita had a chance for a potential tie. On the first play from scrimmage, Cheyne White hit Miguel Rodriguez with a 31-yard pass play to advance to the Bonita 45.

However, Alvarez ended the threat with an interception and a 23-yard return.

Brent West carried the ball five consecutive times to move it to the Highlander 15. On fourth and seven, Keeling, unable to find a receiver, slipped down the right side for a 15-yard touchdown with 21 seconds left.

"I'm happy to see him scrambling because he is a good athlete," Coach Frank Mazzotta said.

Bernal kicked a 30-yard field goal on the final play of the first quarter to give Bonita a 3-0 lead.

Antonio Sanchez took the ensuing kickoff, nearly touching the goal line with his right foot and then breaking loose for a 99-yard return for a touchdown.

The extra point failed and Bonita was able to tie the score on Bernal's 28-yard field goal with 29 seconds left in the half.

Peter McGrath ran for 37 yards on the second play of the game, but was limited to 95 yards in 20 carries for the game.

La Habra had only 110 yards total offense before the game-winning touchdown drive.

West finished with 110 yards in 20 carries, his longest was 25 yards on the game's final drive.

The Highlanders (10-1) will face University (9-2) at a site to be determined in the second round.

Los Angeles Times Articles