With less than three minutes on the clock, all Santa Clarita Christian football had to do was make one last big stop on defense.
Polytechnic of Pasadena used a combination of hard running and finesse passing to get less than 40 yards away from a touchdown, then Panthers quarterback Robbie Wilson lobbed one final long pass – straight into the arms of the Cardinals’ Wyatt Kennedy.
The interception was the final blow dealt to Poly as the Cards won 53-42 at College of the Canyons on Saturday.
“It changed the entire game,” said SCCS’s Ethan Schwesinger. “As soon as (he caught it) we knew it was over because it was only a few seconds left, no timeouts. That was when we knew we won.”
The Cardinals (6-2 overall, 1-0 in Prep League) fought a back-and-forth battle against the Panthers, who have captured the Prep League title the last two seasons.
SCCS quarterback launched a 48-yard pass to Ethan Schwesinger for the first touchdown of the game and the only one of the first quarter.
Kirshner opened up the second quarter in a similar fashion, this time with a 48-yard strike to Carson Schwesinger. Two minutes later, Blake and Carson connected once again, this time on an 8-yard pass.
Poly (5-2, 0-1) countered with 4:19 left in the second quarter as Wilson threw an 11-yard pass to Franco Alonso to make it 20-7. Jackson Treister followed up with a 36-yard run to cut the deficit to 20-14 with a little over a minute to go in the frame.
With 44 seconds left in the quarter, Kirshner hit Ethan Schwesinger with a 54-yard pass and the Cardinals pulled ahead once more, this time to 27-14.
“Blake, the quarterback … just throwing it right on point every time, it’s just great to know that we have people who can come and give 100 percent effort and make plays,” said Carson Schwesinger of the depth of his team’s receiving corps.
Halfway through the third quarter, Wilson connected with Alonso for a touchdown, then Kirshner punched it in from 2-yard line on a sneak to keep the Cards up 34-28 with 4:36 left in the stanza.
Kirshner ran for 18 yards to increase the lead to 41-28 two minutes later.
Treister countered with a 3-yard scamper to open the fourth quarter, then Kirshner threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Kade Kalinske on the first play of the Cardinals’ ensuing drive.
Yet again, Wilson passed to Alonso for a touchdown, bringing the score to a narrow margin at 47-42.
Lucas Pettee capped the scoring with a 6-yard rumble with 2:58 remaining in the game.
“Honestly this is one of the best feelings I’ve had the past few years because this entire season has been working towards this game,” Ethan Schwesinger, who played both ways the full game for the first time this season on Friday night.
“I’m just so confident now that we can do it. We can win a championship and honestly can’t even express just how happy I am right now. It’s just amazing.”