Harbor City Narbonne Coach Manuel Douglas preached all week to his players to anticipate highs and lows during the course of Friday's game. And with his team facing fourth and five on Carson's 22-yard line with 1:14 left, the Gauchos faced a big test in handling adversity.
"That was a gut-check time for us," Douglas said.
Narbonne was called offsides, leaving the Gauchos facing fourth and 10 at the 27. But after a low snap on the next play, senior quarterback Chad Dashnaw weaved past numerous defenders and connected with senior wide receiver CJ Wiley for a 27-yard touchdown pass with 56 seconds remaining.
Juan Sanchez's extra-point kick secured Narbonne's 42-38 victory over second-seeded Carson. The Gauchos will play top-seeded Crenshaw next Saturday at the Coliseum in the Division I City Section championship game.
Narbonne (8-5) defeated the Cougars last year, 25-24, in a semifinal and ultimately earned a share of last season's City title.
"I was just trying to make something happen and get us with the win, said Dashnaw, who finished 11 for 17 for 146 yards with two touchdowns. "I wanted to go to the Coliseum."
Gauchos senior tailback Melvin Davis ran for his third touchdown of the night, a 20-yard run with 2:20 remaining in the third quarter that gave Narbonne a 35-17 lead following the extra point. But Carson quickly answered.
Myles Johnson had a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, then the Colts recovered a fumble on the first play of Narbonne's next possession at the Gauchos 20. A one-yard touchdown run from Carson quarterback Justin Alo with 47.6 seconds left in the third quarter and the Gauchos' extra point reduced the lead to 35-31. Alo's two-yard touchdown run and the ensuing extra point with 4:20 left in the fourth quarter gave the Colts a 38-35 lead.
-- Mark Medina
Crenshaw cruises past Dorsey
After sputtering for the first quarter and a half, host Crenshaw reeled off 28 consecutive points on the way to a 35-6 victory over archrival Dorsey in a City Section semifinal.
De'Anthony Thomas scored on a 38-yard reverse and an eight-yard reception from quarterback Marquis Thompson to help the top-seeded Cougars (13-0) defeat the 12th-seeded Dons (9-4) for the second time in a month.
Dorsey had some momentum after holding Crenshaw scoreless on its four possessions, but a short punt gave the Cougars the ball at the Dons' 28-yard line.
Qujuan Floyd rushed for a one-yard touchdown three plays later, and Crenshaw scored on its next two possessions to take a 21-0 halftime lead.
"We underestimated them," said Cougars running back-linebacker Geoffrey Norwood, who had 82 yards rushing and made an interception on defense.
"We thought we were going to come in here and do the same thing."
Crenshaw did during a 44-7 victory over the Dons in Coliseum League play.
"But they showed some heart. Second quarter, we stopped goofing around and got down to business."
Thompson completed 12 of 22 passes for 127 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions for Crenshaw, which advanced to the Coliseum for the first time since winning the City title in 2005.
-- Ben Bolch
Westlake upsets St. Bonaventure
Nick Isham scored the winning touchdown on a one-yard quarterback keeper with 1:01 left and No. 3-seeded Westlake added a defensive score 11 seconds later to upset No. 2-seeded St. Bonaventure, 17-7, in a Southern Section Northern Division semifinal game at Westlake.
Isham's run capped a 13-play, 89-yard drive that was kept alive on two third-down catches by Trashan Wilson, who finished with three receptions for 46 yards. Isham completed seven of 15 passes for 100 yards and rushed 15 times for 36 yards and one touchdown.
Logan Meyer completed 16 of 32 passes for 172 yards and three interceptions and Devon Blackledge had 105 yards in 30 carries for defending champion St. Bonaventure (11-2), which took a 7-3 lead on a four-yard run by Diamond Schouder with 30 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Seraphs tried a hook-and-ladder inside their 10-yard line with less than a minute left but Blackledge dropped the pitch near the goal line under pressure. Westlake linebacker Max Winsberg pounced on the ball in the end zone to extend the Warriors' lead to 17-7.
-- Steve Galluzzo