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Beckman survives fourth-quarter scare from University
IRVINE – Beckman survived a furious rally by University and held on for a 24-21 victory over the Trojans in a thrilling Pacific Coast League opener Friday night at University.
Beckman (3-3, 1-0) appeared to be in command with a 17-0 lead going into the final quarter but University (5-1, 0-1) scored three touchdowns in the fourth to take it the wire.
“It’s huge,” Beckman coach Marcello Giuliano said. “They were on a two-year streak of dismantling people and they came in 5-0. I was just super proud of how hard our kids played.”
Quarterback Dean Nagle, who passed for two touchdowns and 263 yards, led the Beckman offense but Giuliano said the Patriots’ defense set the tone.
“It started with defense,” Giuliano said. “We were pitching a shutout for most of the game and we caused turnovers and we (forced) a lot of negative plays. That was a defensive game through and through and they deserve a ton of credit and when it was time to come through Dean and the receivers did an awesome job.”
University came charging back in the fourth quarter behind quarterback Thomas Keeling, who passed for 257 yards and two touchdowns in the game.
The Trojans cut Beckman’s lead to 17-14 when Zachary Goodfriend scored on a 1-yard run with 6:39 left.
University then recovered an onside kick but had to kick again when the Trojans were called for an illegal formation.
The Trojans decided not to attempt another onside kick, and Beckman extended its lead to 24-14 when Nagle connected with Mikael Mian on a 20-yard touchdown pass with 3:26 left.
University refused to fold, however. Keeling found Clark Smith on a 34-yard touchdown pass with 2:52 remaining to cut Beckman’s lead to 24-21.
But Beckman recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
Beckman capped the first half when I’Jon Akahi took a screen pass from Nagle and turned it into a 56-yard touchdown for a 10-0 lead with 1:18 left in the second quarter.
Beckman’s Liam Molina opened the scoring with a 24-yard field goal with 6:33 left in the second quarter.
University turned the ball over three times (two fumbles).
Beckman plays Corona del Mar in its next game on Thursday at Tustin while University hosts Northwood.
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