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CHAMPIONS!
Vikings hold off La Serna, 33-25, to win first CIF football title in 55 years.
WRITTEN BY :   Mark Fetter, Contributor

DOWNEY – The Downey High School football team is the 2012-13 C.I.F. Southeast Division champions. The Vikings held off a stubborn La Serna squad 33-25 at a rain soaked Cal State Fullerton last Saturday night to earn their title. It was a rematch for the Vikings who avenged a week two loss to La Serna, in overtime, 28-27. It was the first C.I.F. title for Downey since the “classic game” in 1957 at Balboa Stadium in San Diego in which Downey defeated hometown favorite San Diego 24-7.
Downey kicked off to La Serna to start the game after deferring posession to the second half. La Serna scored the first touchdown early in the first quarter. The Lancers converted the extra point and took the lead 7-0. The score remained that way and the first quarter ended with La Serna leading 7-0. Downey scored their first touchdown of the evening at the 9:25 mark of the second quarter on a 35 yard strike from Jorge Reyna to Jacob Cook. The extra point was good and Downey tied the score at 7. Downey appeared to be marching for another touchdown with just over a minute to play until halftime when Jorge Reyna was intercepted by Lancer safety Giovanni Long in the endzone. Long returned Reyna’s pass to the Lancer 25 yard line. This interception set up the second Lancer touchdown at the :19 second mark. The extra point was missed wide left and the score at halftime was 13-7 La Serna.
La Serna kicked off to Downey to start the second half. Downey wasted little time and marched the ball down the field. After a Justin Huff 64 yard run to the La Serna 11 yard line, Downey managed to get the ball down to the three yard line. On a 4th and goal from the three yard line Reyna connected with Jacob Cook on a quick pass to the outside and Jacob Cook caught the ball with a defender ready to tackle him. As he was being tackled at the goal line, Cook reached the ball out across the goal line and the ball broke the plain. The referee’s hands went straight up in the air and signaled touchdown. The effort was similar to Jeremy Villa’s several weeks ago and Justin Huff’s a few weeks ago.
As Downey kicked the ball off to La Serna on the ensuing possession, La Serna fumbled the ball at the 7:41 mark. Downey wasted little time and scored again at the 4:47 mark of the third quarter on a Jorge Reyna 10 yard keeper. The extra point was no good but Downey extended their lead to 20-13. La Serna took their next possession down to the Downey 24 yard line and attempted a 41 yard field goal. The field goal was missed at the :58 second mark of the third quarter wide left and Downey kept their 20-13 lead. The quarter ended with Downey leading 20-13.
Downey had the ball and the lead to start the fourth quarter and were a mere 12 minutes away from the C.I.F. title. Justin Huff extended the Downey lead at the 11:29 mark when he scored on a five yard run. The extra point was good and Downey took a commanding 27-13 lead. Things looked good for the Vikings. La Serna answered back, however, when standout running back Giovanni Long scored at the 9:42 mark. The extra point was no good and Downey had their lead cut to 27-19. La Serna managed to stop the Downey offense on their next possession. La Serna was able to put together another drive and score again at the 3:41 mark. The two point conversion attempt failed and Downey held on to their 27-25 lead. As time was running down, the Vikings needed to chew on the clock and keep the Lancer offense off the field. Downey chewed on the clock for two minutes but more importantly, scored a touchdown by Justin Huff at the 1:56 mark. The extra point would have made this a two possession game with a nine point differential. Unfortunately, the ball was wet and the extra point was no good. The Vikings held on to a one possession, eight point lead with just under two minutes to play.
Lancer quarterback Frankie Palmer proceeded to march La Serna’s offense down the field for the potential touchdown and game tying two point conversion. The Lancers were out of timeouts and had to move quickly. La Serna managed to move the ball down the field and got to the Viking 11 yard lne. With :31 seconds left in the game, Palmer tried to spike the ball to kill the clock. The ball was wet and Palmer fumbled the exchange with his center. The Vikings quickly recovered the fumble and the Lancer drive was stopped at the 11 yard line. Jorge Reyna took one snap in victory formation and Downey won the C.I.F Southeast Division championship.
Jorge Reyna led the Viking offense by completing 15/26 passes for 272 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The Viking ground game collected 308 yards on 31 carries. Justin Huff led the Viking rushing attack with 22 carries for 224 yards, Jorge Reyna rushed eight times for 77 yards and Justin Duran rushed one time for seven yards. The receiving corps were led by Jacob Cook’s four catches for 75 yards, Tristan Esparza’s four catches for 51 yards, Gus Caro’s two catches for 95 yards, Justin Huff’s one catch for 31 yards, Josh Moreno’s one catch for nine yards and Justin Duran’s one catch for eight yards. The Viking defense was led by Robert Salazar’s four solo and nine assisted tackles, Tristan Esparza’s three solo and seven assisted tackles and Joey Romero’s three solo tackles, all timely quarterback sacks, and six assisted tackles.

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Published: December 6, 2012 – Volume 11 – Issue 34



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