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SOUTHERN SECTION FOOTBALL ROUNDUP

Gerhart Sparks Norco

November 15, 2003|Ben Bolch, Rob Fernas, Paul McLeod

Sophomore running back Toby Gerhart capped perhaps the most prolific 10-day span in Southern Section history by running for the go-ahead touchdown in overtime Friday night to give Norco a 28-27 victory over Corona that clinched the Cougars' first outright Mountain View League title since 1995.

Gerhart rushed for 315 yards and three touchdowns in 42 carries, including a four-yard score in the extra period for Norco (9-1, 5-0 in league), ranked No. 24 by The Times. He has rushed for 1,042 yards and 10 touchdowns in Norco's last three games, which were bunched together because of postponements stemming from the Southern California wildfires.

Corona (7-3, 3-2) pulled to within a point in overtime when Nathaniel Gutierrez ran around left end for a three-yard touchdown. But the Panthers' two-point conversion failed when a lineman illegally touched quarterback Brian Hildebrand's pass, which fell incomplete.

Corona had a chance to win the game near the end of regulation but kicker Luis Medina pulled a 26-yard field goal attempt wide left.

Norco took over at its own 20-yard line after blocking a 42-yard field-goal attempt midway through the fourth quarter and marched for the tying score as Gerhart broke a 44-yard touchdown run to pull the Cougars to within 21-19 with 1 minute 45 seconds to play. A personal foul gave Norco the ball inside the Corona two-yard line on the two-point conversion and Gerhart ran it in to tie the score.

Ben Bolch

*

Manhattan Beach Mira Costa 24, Beverly Hills 10 -- Tyler Pringle rushed for 196 yards in 31 carries and scored the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter to lead the Mustangs to their fourth consecutive Bay League title in a championship showdown at Mira Costa.

The victory extended several streaks for Mira Costa (10-0, 4-0), which probably will be seeded No. 1 in the Division III playoffs. Under Coach Don Morrow, the Mustangs have won 38 regular-season games, 22 league games and 21 home games in a row.

Mira Costa's punishing ground game was more than Beverly Hills (5-3-2, 2-1-1) could handle after the teams battled to a 10-10 tie in the first half.

A 44-yard run by Pringle highlighted a seven-play, 91-yard drive and set up his six-yard scoring run that put the Mustangs ahead, 17-10, with 4:14 left in the third quarter. Mataele Pauu, a 6-foot-2, 295-pound junior, scored the second of his two one-yard touchdown runs early in the fourth quarter to make it 24-10.

Mira Costa fullback Kyle Darr had 116 yards in 12 carries.

The game was delayed for 20 minutes in the fourth quarter after Brandon Rice, Beverly Hills' standout receiver, suffered a broken collarbone, according to medical personnel.

Rob Fernas

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Redlands East Valley 36, Fontana Miller 30 -- Running back Nathan Acrey, returning after being sidelined for a month because of a knee injury, gained 152 yards in 25 carries and scored on runs of four and five yards for East Valley (8-1-1, 5-0), which won its first Citrus Belt league title.

Quarterback Nate Johns rushed for 130 yards and two touchdown. He passed for two two-point conversions and ran for another. His 21-yard touchdown run and two-point conversion run gave East Valley a 36-22 lead with 5:41 to play.

Miller's Justin Alcott returned an interception 23 yards for a touchdown with 7:33 left in the first half.

Quarterback Kyle Jacobo of Miller (6-4, 4-1) rushed 17 times for 97 yards and two touchdowns and had three two-point conversions. Jaquan Ramsey scored on runs of 55 and 15 yards for Miller, which was also making a bid for its first Citrus Belt League title.

-- Paul McLeod

*

Garden Grove Bolsa Grande 16, Westminster La Quinta 0 -- The victory ends the third-longest losing streak in state history at 43 games for host Bolsa Grande (1-9, 1-5 in the Garden Grove League). The state record is 46 games by Moorpark. Westminster La Quinta (0-10, 0-6) was limited to 19 total points this season.

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