Canyons had rallied behind reserve quarterback Tyler D'Amore to take a fourth-quarter lead before Cerritos scored in the final minute of regulation to force overtime.
A week after pummeling previously-unbeaten El Camino, which just a week before that had pounded Canyons, Cerritos (5-3, 3-0) needed a last-minute rally and double overtime to get past the pesky Cougars. But thanks to Brandon Denker's 15-yard touchdown pass to Garion Manning with 42 seconds left and to Westbrook's 1-yard touchdown run in the second overtime, as well as Allan Hancock's surprise loss at home to Ventura, the Falcons now sit alone atop the National Division's North Conference.
On a perfect and still evening in spacious Falcon Stadium, the offenses had little trouble moving the ball and putting up points. Canyons did most of its damage with D'Amore at the helm; he replaced injured starter Chris Rini for good during the Cougars' first series of the second half, at which point Canyons trailed, 21-13. The Cougars later trailed by as many as 15 points before rallying to take a 7-point lead late in the fourth quarter, only to see Cerritos score in the final minute and force overtime.
Cerritos scored the first touchdown of the game in the first quarter on an improvised fake field goal play. The Falcons lined up to try a 26-yard field goal, but Denker, who is also the holder for placekicks, noticed that tight end Clark Evans was unguarded along the left side of the line and rather than place the ball on the turf to be kicked, he calmly tossed it to a wide open Evans for a touchdown midway through the first quarter.
Canyons drew even later in the quarter on an 18-yard run by Matt Bowen, who scored the first of his four touchdowns on the night. The scoring play came with D'Amore at the helm, with Rini having been knocked from the game after a big hit with what the NHL would term an "upper body injury." Rini would return on the Cougars' next series, but after another shot early in the second half would leave the game for good.
Cerritos went back in front on Westbrook's first touchdown of the night, a 7-yard run in the final minute of the second quarter. Canyons got a 36-yard field goal from Jeff Flores with 4:13 left in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 14-10, but Cerritos pushed its lead to double digits when Westbrook scored on a 2-yard run with 2:22 left in the half. That came three plays after Dwan Gill intercepted a Rini pass and returned it to the Cougar 13. Canyons got another field goal from Flores, this one from 35 yards out, with five seconds left in the half to make it 21-13 at the break.
Cerritos increased its lead to 28-13 early in the second half when Evans made a spectacular one-handed catch for a 42-yard touchdown pass on a fourth down play less than three minutes into the second quarter. The 15-point margin, plus the fact that Rini was now sidelined for the evening, seemed to put the Falcons in control of the game.
But Canyons rallied behind D'Amore, scoring the game's next 22 points to take a lead midway through the fourth quarter. Bowen's 10-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter brought the Cougars within eight points at 28-20. Then early in the fourth quarter, Bowen scored his third touchdown of the night on a 5-yard run to make it 28-26. The two-point conversion attempt failed, but just over five minutes later Canyons took a 42-28 lead when D'Amore threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Graves with 8:28 left in the game. A 38-yard field goal by Flores with 2:48 left pushed the Cougar lead to seven at 35-28.
That still left plenty of time for Cerritos to tie the score, however, and Denker proved ready to lead the Falcons on the key two-minute drive. Cerritos needed 10 plays, one of which was a 4-yard gain on 4th and 2 from the 15, to cover the 57 yards needed to tie the score. Denker's 15-yard touchdown pass to Manning with 42 seconds left tied the score at 35 and sent the game to overtime.
Cerritos lost the coin toss to begin overtime and had to go first, but the Falcons needed just four plays to cover the 25 yards needed to regain the lead. Denker scored on a 10-yard keeper to make it 42-35. Canyons answered with Bowen's fourth touchdown of the night, however, again tying the game at 42. There was a moment of uncertainty as Bowen had reached the ball towards the goal line at the end of his run and the ball had come loose, but the officials ruled he broke the plane of the goal line before any possible fumble, sending the game to a second overtime.
In the second overtime, the Cerritos defense came up big, with Alauna Finau sacking D'Amore on first down and holding the Cougars to just 9 yards and two incomplete passes on the next three plays. Then Cerritos wasted little time in wrapping up the victory, driving 25 yards in four plays, with Westbrook's one-yard run clinching the win.
For Cerritos, Denker completed 13 of 28 passes for 143 yards and 3 touchdowns. Donald Livingston rushed for a game-high 121 yards on 20 carries, and Westbrook added 94 yards on 15 carries while scoring 3 touchdowns. Cerritos totaled 242 yards rushing for the game. Lindsey Anderson led Falcon receivers with 5 catches, good for 41 yards, while Evans had 3 catches for 65 yards and two touchdowns.
For Canyons, D'Amore finished 11 for 22 passing for 161 yards, no interceptions and a touchdown in about a half of action. Bowen rushed for 82 yards on 18 carries, and scored 3 touchdowns, and he also caught 5 passes for 46 yards. Matt Szymanski had 5 catches for 63 yards.
The win improves Cerritos' record to 5-3 overall but more importantly 3-0 in the National-North. The Falcons lead El Camino and Allan Hancock by a game, having beaten El Camino last week and scheduled to host Hancock in the final game of the season November 12th. Canyons falls to 3-5 overall and 0-3 in the National-North.
Cerritos Falcons 48 2 OT
Canyons Cougars 42
Saturday, October 29, 2011 - 7 pm - Falcon Stadium, Norwalk
National Division - North Conference
Cerritos - Evans 9 yd pass from Denker (Valencia kick) 7:10 (7-0)
Canyons - Bowen 18 yd run (Flores kick) 2:50 (7-7)
Cerritos - Westbrook 7 yd run (Valencia kick) 0:24 (14-7)
Canyons - FG Flores 36 yds 4:13 (14-10)
Cerritos - Westbrook 2 yd run (Valencia kick) 2:22 (21-10)
Canyons - FG Flores 35 yds 0:05 (21-13)
Cerritos - Evans 42 yd pass from Denker (Valencia kick) 12:25 (28-13)
Canyons - Bowen 10 yd run (Flores kick) 9:51 (28-20)
Canyons - Bowen 5 yd run (pass failed) 13:38 (28-26)
Canyons - Graves 37 yd pass from D'Amore (kick failed - bad snap) 8:28 (28-32)
Canyons - FG Flores 38 yds 2:48 (28-35)
Cerritos - Manning 15 yd pass from Denker (Valencia kick) 0:42 (35-35)
1st Overtime: Cerritos - Denker 10 yd run (Valencia kick) (42-35)
Canyons - Bowen 10 yd run (Flores kick) (42-42)
2nd Overtime: Cerritos - Westbrook 1 yd run (no conversion try) (48-42)
First Downs: Cerritos 24 (16 rush, 6 pass, 2 penalty), Canyons 26 (13 rush, 6 pass, 7 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Cerritos 47-242, Canyons 51-178
Passing Yds: Cerritos 143, Canyons 240
Comp-Att-Int: Cerritos 13-28-1, Canyons 19-38-1
Return Yds: Cerritos 274, Canyons 107
Sacks-Yds: Cerritos 1-3, Canyons 4-28
Fumbles-Lost: Cerritos 3-1, Canyons 5-1
Penalties-Yds: Cerritos 12-118, Canyons 13-120
Time of Possession: Cerritos 27:22, Canyons 32:38
Rushing: Cerritos 22-Livingston 20-121, 3-Westbrook 15-94, 7-Denker 9-20, 21-Bernard 3-7; Canyons 15-Bowen 18-82, 5-Rini 12-70, 10-Wilson 3-49, 2-Jordan 2-25, 9-D'Amore 11-21, 14-Szymanski 2-19, 31-Brown 1-(-5), 16-Graves 1-(-6)
Passing: Cerritos 7-Denker 13-28-1-143, 3 TDs; Canyons 9-D'Amore 11-22-0-161, 1 TD; 5-Rini 8-17-1-79
Receiving: Cerritos 2-Anderson 5-41, 5-Evans 3-65, 8-Campbell 2-16, 6-Manning 1-15, 11-Abeyta 1-8, 22-Livingston 1-(-2); Canyons 14-Szymanski 5-63, 15-Bowen 5-46, 81-Gipson 3-28, 25-Rivas 2-45, 16-Graves 1-37, 1-Madero 1-8, 2-Jordan 1-8, 10-Wilson 1-5
Interceptions-Ret Yds: Cerritos 7-Gill 1-32; Canyons 8-Sampson 1-0
Fumble Rec-Ret Yds: Cerritos 11-Amituanai 1-0; Canyons 49-Woolley 1-0
Sacks-Yds: Cerritos 56-Finau 1-3; Canyons 45-Hosea 2-21, 58-Folaumoeloa 1-5, 67-Baker 1-2
Punters: Cerritos 12-Lewis 4-36.8 avg; 7-Denker 1-23; Canyons 96-Roth 4-38.8 avg
Kick Returns: Cerritos 21-Bernard 5-133, 7-Gill 3-75; Canyons 86-Nickerson 2-61, 12-Schechter 2-39, 42-Jeters 1-8
Punt Returns: Cerritos 7-Gill 2-34; Canyons 2-Jordan 1-(-1)
Missed FG: Cerritos none; Canyons 37-Flores 25 yds (wide right)
Notes: WOW what a game! Cerritos entered ranked #9 in South and improves to 5-3 overall and 3-0 in conference; Canyons entered ranked #17 in South and falls to 3-5 overall, 0-2 in conference. Sampson forced the fumble Woolley recovered for Canyons; 4-Roundtree forced the fumble Amituani recovered for Cerritos. Rini started at QB for Canyons but left early in the 2nd half with an injury and was replaced by D'Amore. Cerritos scored its 1st TD on an improvised fake FG play that happened when holder Denker noticed that wideout Evans was unguarded. Cerritos' 3rd TD came after Gill returned his interception to the COC 13. Canyons' 3rd TD came after Sampson's interception. In the 2nd OT, Canyons went first but turned the ball over on downs. Cerritos leads the all-time series, 3-1, and has won the last three meetings.