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HIGH SCHOOL NOTES : La Canada clinches final playoff berth

November 15, 2009|Ben Bolch

After La Canada High's football team defeated host South Pasadena, 39-20, Friday night, the Spartans returned to their locker room and switched into their home jerseys.

They had more football to play.

A short time later, La Canada faced Temple City on the same field in an overtime-style playoff for the Rio Hondo League's third and final postseason berth. The Spartans won that too, 15-14, when quarterback Rocky Moore connected with Michael Arkfeld on a two-point conversion on the third overtime possession.

"They were tired," La Canada Coach Dan Yoder said of his players, "but I've never heard of a situation like this, so the adrenaline kicks in."

The bizarre scenario became necessary after La Canada and Temple City had finished tied with San Marino for second place in the league. San Marino was awarded the league's No. 2 playoff entry through a series of coin flips that also pitted the Spartans against the Rams.

Coaches decided earlier in the week to play the tiebreaker Friday night instead of Saturday morning, Yoder said, because on the morning after a game players typically resemble "a walking hospital ship."

Temple City took a bus to South Pasadena from San Marino, where it had just lost to the Titans, 19-14. The playoff against La Canada started about 10:25 p.m. and ended about 11.

"We rushed the field and there were people jumping around all over the place," Yoder said. "It's pretty hard not to get up for a situation like this."

The defeat was doubly difficult for Temple City because the Rams had routed La Canada, 40-20, last month. Now Temple City will be shut out of the playoffs.

"It's kind of rough, but I'll tell you the kids had a great time," Yoder said. "You never want to be knocked out of football by flipping a coin."

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Last one in?

Encino Crespi seems to have the most compelling case for receiving the Pac-5 Division's lone at-large playoff berth despite losing to Los Angeles Loyola on Friday and finishing in last place in the Serra League.

The Celts are the only team to beat league champion La Puente Bishop Amat and played a brutal nonleague schedule that included games against Anaheim Servite and Ventura St. Bonaventure. Another factor for the playoff committee to consider: Crespi's five losses came by a combined 21 points.

Crespi (5-5) will be submitted ahead of Loyola (4-6) from the Serra League because the Cubs finished below .500 and are ineligible for playoff consideration. The other candidates for the at-large spot are Rancho Santa Margarita Tesoro (5-5), Newport Harbor (6-4) and Bellflower St. John Bosco (5-5).

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ben.bolch@latimes.com

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