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Prep Rally: It’s a Christmas miracle for high school football game endings

Devyn Jackson (left) celebrates with Antrell Harris after scoring on a miracle 52-yard touchdown catch
Devyn Jackson (left) celebrates with Antrell Harris after scoring on a miracle 52-yard touchdown catch on the game’s final play for a 30-28 Birmingham victory.
(Craig Weston)
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Hi, and welcome to another edition of Prep Rally. My name is Eric Sondheimer. On Friday and Saturday in high school football, I witnessed something I’ve never experienced since becoming a sportswriter in 1976 — back-to-back miracle football endings. Let’s go inside the miracle in San Diego that propelled City Section Open Division champion Birmingham into playing for a state Division 3-AA championship and St. Bonaventure into the Division 1-A final.

The immaculate tip

Birmimgham High's Devyn Jackson (right) catches a tipped pass off the hands of teammate Peyton Waters (left).
Birmimgham High’s Devyn Jackson (right) catches a tipped pass off the hands of teammate Peyton Waters (left) during the final minute of the CIF Division 3-AA regional bowl game Friday night.
(Craig Weston)

It was the game’s final play. Del Norte led 28-24. Birmingham had the ball on its own 48-yard line. Quarterback Kingston Tisdell threw the pass down the middle. Everyone knew who he was trying to throw to: Peyton Waters, the reigning City Section player of the year. Except there were three defenders on him. Somehow, he tipped the ball, along with others, and it ended up in the hands of Devyn Jackson for a game-winning touchdown.

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A look in slow motion of the play almost seems like the play was practiced. Waters has played basketball for Birmingham. It was almost a tip drill or even something you’d see in volleyball.

Except Waters and coach Jim Rose said that play was not practiced.

“If we practice that we definitely would have screwed it up,” Rose said.

Said Waters: “No, it wasn’t on purpose. I went up going for the ball. It was tipped and happened to go to Devyn. It was all desperation and worked out in our favor. That’s why you don’t give up, even on the last play, when you’re down.”

Waters remained in shock well after the game’s conclusion.

“I can’t believe we won,” he said. “It was a crazy experience. Everyone was going crazy. It didn’t hit me until after the game walk to the bus realizing as a senior that could have been my last game but we’re still playing.”

Tisdell finished with four touchdown passes and has gone 14 games without throwing an interception. Birmingham will play Acalanes at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday at Saddleback College.

贬别谤别’蝉 a report, photos and videos from the historic game.

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Then, on Saturday, St. Bonaventure trailed St. Augustine 20-14 with 14 seconds left. St. Augustine had the ball on its 17 and decided to punt. It was shanked. St. Bonaventure took over on the 30 with eight seconds left. After a pass completion to the 4-yard line, St. Bonaventure had two seconds left. That’s when the Seraphs pulled off a double pass, getting the tying touchdown and getting the winning extra point.

贬别谤别’蝉 the story from the second miracle in San Diego. St. Bonaventure will face a tough test from Folsom in the 1-A final on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Saddleback College.

贬别谤别’蝉 a look at top individual performances.

State finals

Mater Dei quarterback Elijah Brown, right, celebrates with wide receiver Cooper Barkate
Mater Dei quarterback Elijah Brown, right, celebrates with wide receiver Cooper Barkate in the 2021 CIF state championship game.
(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

Saddleback College, El Camino College and Pasadena City College will be the sites Friday and Saturday for the CIF state championship football bowl games.

The big one is Mater Dei taking on unbeaten San Mateo Serra on Saturday at 8 p.m. at Saddleback College. 贬别谤别’蝉 a report how Southern California teams have received little competition from Northern California teams in recent years in the highest division and how a cycle of domination shows no signs of ending.

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贬别谤别’蝉 the link to matchups.

Three City Section teams have made it to championship games: Birmingham, Banning and Fairfax. Banning attempted just one pass all game in its 5-A regional win over La Jolla Country Day. It will play Saturday at El Camino College against unbeaten Woodland Christian. Fairfax plays Friday at El Camino College against Ferndale.

On Friday at Saddleback College, Sacramento Grant will play La Serna at 4 p.m. in 2-AA, followed by De La Salle vs. Mission Viejo in 1-AA at 8 p.m.

Other teams in state finals are Mayfair facing Marin Catholic on Saturday at El Camino College in 3-A and Bell Gardens facing Strathmore in 7-A on Saturday at Pasadena City College.

Basketball

Four teams traveled to Arizona for the Hoophall one-day event. No. 1 St. John Bosco and No. 2 Harvard-Westlake won games while Corona Centennial and Sierra Canyon lost in close games. 贬别谤别’蝉 a report.

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There were great games at Redondo Union, none better than JSerra going to double overtime to beat Eastvale Roosevelt. 贬别谤别’蝉 the report.

Two big games are set for Wednesday. Harvard-Westlake is hosting St. Pius X-St. Matthias and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame is hosting Campbell Hall in a game where Bryce James used to practice for both schools before returning to Sierra Canyon.

Pasadena handed Crespi its first defeat in winning the Maranatha tournament.

贬别谤别’蝉 this week’s top 25 rankings by The Times.

Jordin Blackmon (left) and freshman Armanyie Reed are heavily recruited girls' basketball players at Bishop Montgomery.
Junior Jordin Blackmon (left) and freshman Armanyie Reed are heavily recruited girls’ basketball players at Bishop Montgomery.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

In girls basketball, Bishop Montgomery is trying to join the conversation as a contender to challenge Etiwanda and Sierra Canyon. 贬别谤别’蝉 a report from their win over Brentwood and how the team has two outstanding young players to watch.

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Etiwanda picked up a 65-58 win over La Jolla Country Day, surviving a 40-point effort from Naomi Panganiban.

Perrantes legacy

Sophomore Malakai Perrantes of Crespi is the fourth and youngest brother to play sports.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

The last of four Perrantes brothers, Malakai, is a starting sophomore guard for Crespi.

The Perrantes family is well respected in the San Fernando Valley.

The oldest brother, London, was a star point guard at Crespi and Virginia and plays professionally in Greece.

贬别谤别’蝉 the report.

Dave Keefer keeps working

Dave Keefer is 82 years old and runs the California Preps website.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

At 82 years old, Dave Keefer is still running his CaliforniaPreps website. You’ll see him these days in gyms taking photos during the basketball season.

The only slowing down for him is perhaps driving at night. Otherwise, it’s full speed ahead enjoying writing about high school athletes, something he started in 2000 after retiring from a non-media job. He liked basketball and liked sports and keeps coming back for more.

Soccer

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Glen Appels took over St. Francis’ soccer program in 1989. He earned his 500th coaching victory Thursday. His teams have won three Southern Section championships. He’s the second winningest soccer coach in Southern Section history.

Tyler Cash of Oak Park had four goals in win over Hesperia.
(Sharon Levy Photography)

Oak Park and Hesperia had a meeting a year after they played a memorable playoff game in the snow. In their latest game, Tyler Cash scored four goals to rally Oak Park to a 5-3 victory.

Harvard-Westlake, now in Division 1, made an impressive debut with a 2-0 win over Division 1 power Cathedral. JT Federman and Tyler Ullrich scored the goals for the Wolverines.

Harvard-Westlake’s girls’ soccer team picked up a 1-0 win over Downey on a goal by standout Vicky Pugh.

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Notes . . . .

St. Bonaventure offensive lineman Shaun Torgeson has committed to Portland State. . . .

Austin Pope has been dismissed as basketball coach at Burroughs. He was in his first season and the team was 6-1. . . .

Pitcher Nick Salmon of Corona del Mar has committed to UC Santa Barbara. . . .

Daniela Borruel of Sunny Hills won the Southern Section girls’ individual tennis championship by defeating sophomore Danielle Nikmehr of Palos Verdes 6-2, 6-3. The Mater Dei duo of Chloe Vu and Haley Tran won the doubles title. . . .

Outfielder Ryder Dykstra from Corona Centennial has committed to USC. . . .

After four years as head football coach at Burroughs, Jesse Craven has accepted the offer to become head coach at Westlake, one of the most challenging coaching positions because of the parents. . . .

Matt Poston has resigned as football coach at Tesoro. He began as an assistant in 2001, took over as head coach in 2013 and was well respected. He will continue as a math teacher.

From the archives: Charisma Osborne

UCLA guard Charisma Osborne dribbles against Stanford during an NCAA college basketball game Monday.
UCLA guard Charisma Osborne dribbles against Stanford during an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
(ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Former Windward star Charisma Osborne is in the perfect situation to gain national attention as the star fifth-year player for UCLA, ranked No. 2 in the nation in women’s college basketball.

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She entered this past week averaging 15.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. She scored a career-high 36 points during last season’s NCAA tournament.

贬别谤别’蝉 a 2017 story about Osborne’s talents in high school.

Recommendations

From the Washington Post, a story on how the changes in college football recruiting are affecting high school recruits.

From the Los Angeles Times, a story on the Special Olympics fall games held in Fountain Valley.

From the Daily Breeze, a look at new football leagues in the South Bay for 2024.

Tweets you might have missed

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Until next time...

Have a question, comment or something you’d like to see in a future Prep Rally newsletter? Email me at eric.sondheimer@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latsondheimer.

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