Narbonne Coach Manuel Douglas hugs running back Tray Boone, who scored… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
For one glorious night, Harbor City Narbonne should change its school name to Boone High, as in Tray Boone.
The senior running back contributed six touchdowns and 301 yards in 36 carries to help the Gauchos win the City Section Division I championship with a 48-32 victory over Marine League rival Carson at East Los Angeles College.
When it comes to turning bad starts into championship finishes, Narbonne (11-3) pulled it off.
Before any of its fans had gotten comfortable in their seats, Narbonne quarterback Troy Williams had been intercepted twice by Carson's Jerrod Moton, and the Gauchos gave up a 55-yard touchdown run to Carson's Roger Jones.
Rather than enter panic mode, Narbonne called upon Boone, who contributed four touchdown runs before the half was over for a 35-7 lead.
Carson (8-6) held a 7-0 lead on the strength of Jones' touchdown run on its first play from scrimmage. But the Colts then proceeded to lose three fumbles and make a series of mistakes.
The dramatic turnaround began when Narbonne's A.J. Richardson recovered a fumbled punt on the Carson six-yard line. Boone scored on a one-yard run.
Then Darreus Rogers, instead of punting the ball, decided to run for a first down on fourth and two from his 15-yard line. He was tackled on the 11-yard line. Boone followed with an 11-yard touchdown run.
Narbonne's Victor Valentine sacked Carson quarterback Kevin McMahon at the one-yard line, forcing a punt. Williams would soon score on a one-yard touchdown run.
Then Narbonne's Aaron Afalava returned a fumble 70 yards to the Carson 11. Boone scored on a seven-yard run. Another Carson fumble set up Boone's second seven-yard touchdown run. By halftime, he had 168 yards rushing and four touchdowns.
So much for Narbonne being worried about trying to beat its rival for the second time in a season. The two schools met in Marine League play, and Narbonne won, 38-37.
Carson made a run in the second half. The Colts closed to 35-18 in the third quarter on a 73-yard touchdown reception by Rogers. But Boone's 33-yard touchdown run with 9:15 left put the Gauchos ahead, 42-18.
Narbonne was too physical up front, and Coach Manuel Douglas' decision several years ago to develop a balanced offense proved decisive. With Williams ineffective through the air, the Gauchos relied on their running attack behind an effective offensive line, led by 6-foot-6, 310-pound junior tackle Alanta Toussant.
Narbonne, which had to share a City title in 2008 with San Pedro when the two schools tied, might be just getting started.
The Gauchos are scheduled to return 10 starters on defense and seven on offense. Next season, Douglas and the Gauchos are going to make a serious run at a CIF state championship bowl game.