“One stop and we’ll win.”
That’s what Santa Clarita Christian football coach Chazz Anderson told his team during a timeout Saturday night against Jordan of Long Beach.
Backed up on their own 6-yard line and down 21-20 in the fourth quarter, the Cardinals needed a stop on fourth down to keep Jordan from the end zone.
Anderson was right, sort of. SCCS got the stop, but needed two more late fourth-down stops and a touchdown to win, and the Cards got just that in a gritty 26-21 road victory against the Panthers
The Cardinals’ go-ahead score came late in the fourth after a 39-yard touchdown grab by Ethan Schwesinger from quarterback Blake Kirshner.
“Our hats off to Jordan. That’s a good football team,” Anderson said.
“This game is just a tribute to our mental toughness, the way we fight through adversity and how we find a way to win,” he added.
Jordan led most of the second half 21-20 behind a strong ground game that pounded right at the Cardinals. SCCS looked fatigued at times but hunkered down when it mattered the most.
SCCS was able to get in Panthers territory late in the third quarter, following a toss from Kirshner to Kade Kalinske.
But the drive stalled after Jordan’s defense intercepted intended for senior receiver Caden Brenner.
After Schwesinger touchdown, Jordan marched down the field to the red zone from its own 33-yard line after a 36-yard throw from Jordan quarterback Anthony Scott.
But the Cardinals held Jordan again from the end zone on fourth-and-goal with 14 seconds left to seal the win.
Kirshner ended the night with four touchdown throws.
Along with his game-winning touchdown, Schwesinger also came up with a few key tackles on defense.
“We knew we they (Jordan) were going to make some plays, so we told our guys we needed to make more,” Anderson said. “At the end of the day, a win’s a win, but we’ve got to get better.”
In the first half, the Panthers got on the board first to take a 6-0 lead. But the Cardinals responded with a long drive that ended with a 6-yard toss from Kirshner to sophomore Lucus Pettee to tied the game.
Jordan answered with a 4-yard touchdown run.
The next two Cardinals scores came courtesy of Schwesinger and Brenner, who connected on two touchdowns.