The game:Servite drove 80 yards in the final 35 seconds of the fourth quarter to edge JSerra, 39-38, on a touchdown run and 2-point conversion pass by quarterback Aaron Simpson. The senior scored on a 22-yard run with six seconds left and tossed the conversion pass to tight end Ryan Melvin.
Keys to the game: The keys to game was Servite's execution at the end of the first half and fourth quarter, a 46-yard field goal Asa Fuller in the fourth and second-half stamina.
Key #1: On Servite's winning drive, Simpson started with a 16-yard competition to Terrell Bynum. On the enusing incomplete pass, the Lions were called for a late hit on Simpson, moving the ball just past the 50 with 25 seconds left. After an incomplete with 22 seconds left, Simpson connected with Michael Bandy for a 25-yard gain to the Lions 22 with 14 seconds left. Servite and then JSerra called timeouts before Simpson scrambled for the TD with six seconds left. Simpson powered through two tacklers to dive into the end zone. His scramble seemed like the best option for a TD on the play. Melvin also narrowly scored but the Friars likely caught the Lions by surprise because Melvin didn't have a catch all night until then.
Key #2: Servite tied the score, 21-21, with on a short touchdown run by Jackson Taylor with 25 seconds left in the second quarter after a fumble by JSerra at its 15.
Key #3: A 46-yard field goal by Fuller tied the score, 31-31, with 4:20 left in the fourth and proved critical. Just before the kick, the Lions declined a penalty on a third-down incompletion that would have moved Servite back and replayed the down but Fuller found the range for points. Fuller's kick came after a high snap by JSerra on a punt but the loss from the high snap just seemed to balance a fumble by the Friars on a sack at the Lions' 10 on the previous possession.
Key #4: About three or four JSerra players went down with cramps in the second half during the hot evening at Cerritos College. But because the Lions' somewhat underwhelming nonleague schedule led to many lopsided scores, some of JSerra's players played their first full-game Friday. Servite played like the fresher team at the end of the game.
Player of the game: Simpson. He replaced the injured Tyler Lytle (hamstring) at quaterrback in the first half and ran for the winning score but he made several outstanding throws, too. He used play-action fakes and a quick throws on the move on TD connections of 25 and 47 yards with Bandy. He also throw some excellent passes on diving catches by Terrell Bynum.
Key stat: Servite scored 39 points on a JSerra defense that had allowed no more than 14 in the nonleague.
They said it: "It was a great football game," JSerra coach Jim Hartigan said. "We warned our kids and told our kids that this thing is going to come down to one play and it did."
What it means: Servite matches its league win total from last season and stays at Cerritos College next week to take on 0-1 Orange Lutheran, another team that will have the size advantage. JSerra moves into a near must-win scenario next week against another 0-1 team league: Santa Margarita. It's tough to start 0-2 in a challenging league.