Prep Impressions: Week 14-B

Notre Dame celebrates its first CIF section title in 38 years. / Photo by MILKA SOKO for The Press-Enterprise

Notre Dame celebrates its first CIF section title in 38 years. / Photo by MILKA SOKO for The Press-Enterprise

I worked the Riverside Notre Dame-Temecula Linfield Christian CIF-Southern Section Championship Game on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, and came away thinking the Titans needed only to score 14 points in 16 seconds to claim their first section title in 38 years.

Following a scoreless first half, Linfield punched it in on a 17-yard pass from Clay Maranville to Taylor Kekoa Lau, but missed the kick on the point-after attempt to hold a 6-0 lead.

Notre Dame came right back with a 14-play, 80-yard drive to tie the game on Niles Harrell’s 16-yard pass to Jaden Gardner.

Freshman K Jun Hwang made the extra-point kick, but not before drawing a collective gasp from the crowd for his spinning end-over-end kick that barely cleared the cross bar. The Press-Enterprise’s David Zink claims he could hear as it ‘tinked off’ the aluminum goal post.

That was with 10:16 left in the fourth quarter.

So then Simeon Burns returned the ensuing kickoff just nine yards and Linfield’s offense set up shop at its 18, but on first down Maranville sent a pass out to the left where Titans DB Wesley Smith was more ready than the intended receiver, jumping the route, picking off Maranville and going 31 yards untouched for a touchdown.

That was with 10:03 left in the fourth quarter.

Linfield twice had the ball late in the game but gained just 40 more yards and both drive fizzled near midfield.

So 16 seconds of magic and Notre Dame’s defense was up to the task, scoring a touchdown while holding Linfield, typically a strong running team with two 1,000-yard rushers, to less than 65 total rushing yards.

It was a performance worthy of the standing-room only visitor’s grandstand as Notre Dame supporters over-flowed for their first title since 1977.

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