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Second-Half Surge a Winner for Venice

November 28, 2002|Peter Yoon, Ben Bolch | From Staff Reports

It took a while for the vaunted Venice offense to get going Wednesday night, but once it started rolling, it didn't stop.

Venice scored on all four of its second-half possessions and cruised to a 44-35 victory over Roosevelt in a City Championship quarterfinal game at Venice.

Quarterback Eddie Miller completed 14 of 22 passes for 238 yards and had touchdown passes of 23, 65 and 63 yards for Venice, which had 244 of its 376 total yards in the wild second half.

When the fourth-seeded Gondoliers (10-2) face Taft next week, it will be the first semifinal appearance for Venice in the upper-division playoffs.

"We started a little slow in the first half, but this offense is bound to get going sooner or later," Miller said.

Actually, the last play of the first half jump-started the offense. Venice took possession with a 10-6 lead and eight seconds left in the first half. Instead of running out the clock, the Gondoliers ran a hook-and-lateral.

Miller hit receiver B.J. Vickers for an 11-yard gain. Vickers, who finished with five catches for 93 yards and a touchdown, then pitched to Gerold Rodriguez, who raced 31 yards for a touchdown and a 17-6 halftime lead.

Rodriguez caught four passes for 11 yards and scored a career-high three touchdowns.

Fifth-seeded Roosevelt (10-2) pulled to within 17-14 on its first drive of the second half, but Venice took control after that. The Gondoliers scored in two plays, forced a punt, then scored in four plays for a 31-14 lead with 4:57 left in the third quarter. Venice led, 44-27 until Roosevelt scored a touchdown and two-point conversion with 12 seconds left in the game.

Zach Owens led Roosevelt with 110 yards and a touchdown in 18 carries. Chris Hurtado added 95 yards rushing in 14 carries and Jody Adewale had 66 yards and two touchdowns in 10 carries for the Rough Riders, who had 322 yards rushing and 56 passing.

-- Peter Yoon

Lake Balboa Birmingham 35, Fairfax 14 -- Chad Green caught touchdown passes of 19 and 36 yards and returned an interception 102 yards for a touchdown to rally Birmingham from a 14-0 deficit in a City Championship quarterfinal game at Birmingham.

The sixth-seeded Patriots (9-3) play host to No. 7 Gardena in the semifinals.

A lucky bounce started the unraveling of Fairfax (7-4) at the end of the first half. On a fourth-and-four play from the Fairfax 37, Birmingham quarterback Ryan Lombardo had a pass bounce off the hands of defensive back Marques Floyd. Dennis Keyes caught the ball and ran into the end zone for a touchdown.

Lombardo completed 16 of 34 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns.

Fairfax, which lost three fumbles and had a second pass intercepted, was led by Derrick Hill, who rushed for 139 yards in 32 carries. Kareem Dennis scored Lion touchdowns on a three-yard run and 19-yard reception.

-- Eric Sondheimer

Gardena 38, Jefferson 14 -- The host Panthers capitalized on seven turnovers to avenge an earlier loss to the Democrats and advance to their first City Championship semifinal since 1983.

DeAndre Hughes rushed for 138 yards and three touchdowns in 22 carries for Gardena (9-3), which overcame five lost fumbles. Linebacker Milo Otis made two of the Panthers' four interceptions, returning one 30 yards for a score.

Jefferson, coming off a rousing first-round upset of second-seeded Carson, trailed, 28-0, at halftime and didn't convert a first down until there was 3:15 left in the third quarter. The Democrats (6-6) could muster only 106 yards of offense, including 82 yards in the second half with the game already decided.

-- Ben Bolch

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