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The last postseason game of the high school football season in the nation came down to the final five minutes.
At the end of a back-and-forth second half, De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) held on for a 28-21 victory against Centennial (Corona, Calif.) in the CIF Open Division Bowl on Saturday in Sacramento.
De La Salle, which began the season at No. 1 in the USA TODAY Super 25 Preseason rankings, lost its season opener in Texas to Euless Trinity and then ran off 13 consecutive wins to finish 13-1. With the win, De La Salle won its fifth CIF Open title and sixth state title overall.
Centennial (14-1) started its final drive on its own 30-yard line with 5:29 remaining. The Huskies twice converted fourth downs – one on fourth-and-5 from the 35 on an offsides penalty by De La Salle and on another fourth-and-five on a J.J. Taylor run. The drive ended when Centennial, facing a fourth-and-11 on the 45 with 1:08 remaining, threw an incomplete pass.
The eventual victory margin came on a 26-yard run by De La Salle QB Anthony Sweeney with 9:57 remaining in the game. An early fourth-quarter interception by De La Salle’s Nick Lopez and a stop on fourth-and-6 at the 15-yard line thwarted Centennial’s offense.
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Each team scored twice in the third quarter.
Sammonte Bonner caught an 8-yard TD at the back of the end zone to give Centennial a 14-7 lead with 9:28 remaining in the third.
Jonathan Harvey answered with a 48-yard TD reception with 6:20 left in the third to even the score at 14-14.
A 10-yard TD reception from Javon McKinley from Anthony Catalano gave Centennial a 21-14 lead with 4:24 left in the third quarter.
Then, Antoine Custer’s 63-yard run for De La Salle evened the score at 21-21. Custer also scored on a 4-yard run in the first half.
A year ago, these teams met in the same game and a combined 105 points were scored with De La Salle winning 63-42. At halftime this year, the score was 7-7.