Fri, Nov 23 2012 01:29 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
Southwestern College head football coach Ed Carberry would readily admit that his team won last Saturday’s American Division Championship Bowl game despite itself.
“We got hit with pretty much every penalty known to man,” said Carberry, whose team recorded a dramatic 45-31 come-from-behind victory against the Santa Monica Corsairs at Olympian High School.
“But I told the team if we stayed together, we could come back. That’s the signature of this group.”
SWC running back Charles Westbrook earned the game’s Most Valuable Player award. He rushed for 217 yards and scored two touchdowns.
His four-yard run with 9:40 left in the fourth quarter stood up as the game-winning score.
“It’s an honor to win this award,” said Westbrook, a Point Loma High School alumnus. “This game was so important for us, and for us to win the game and for me to get this award … it means so much.”
SWC freshman quarterback Frank Foster received the game’s Offensive Player of the Game award. He led the Jaguars (10-1) on their final four scoring drives, scoring once on a one-yard keeper and later passing to teammate Bryant Mitchell for touchdowns of 75 and 21 yards.
Foster, a Valhalla High School grad, finished the game with 217 passing yards and 67 rushing yards. “Coach Carberry has faith in me and I knew if I got the call that I wouldn’t let my team down,” Foster said.
The bowl game victory was the first for Southwestern since winning the 1988 Hall of Fame Bowl.
The win was the eighth straight for the Jaguars, who set a single-season school record with 10 victories.
The 2012 American Division Championship Bowl pitted the winners of the division’s two conferences: Southwestern (Mountain Conference) and Santa Monica (Pacific Conference).
Both teams entered last Saturday’s contest with 9-1 overall records after finishing 7-0 in conference play.
The Corsairs took an early 6-0 lead on a 20-yard pass from Alfonso Medina to Ralph Gordon II.
The Jaguars rallied with 17 unanswered points to go ahead 17-6 as Jovan Gonzales booted a 27-yard field goal, Westbrook scored on a four-yard run and starting quarterback Brett Nelson scored on a two-yard run.
The SWC defense came up big during that span by stopping the visitors with a goal-line stand.
A muffed punt by the Jaguars, however, set up Santa Monica on the 16-yard line, and Miles Johnson took the ball in from there on the next play.
A missed two-point conversion left the hosts holding a 17-12 advantage. But that quickly evaporated on a 35-yard interception return by Dejuan Butler (the Defensive Player of the Game).
A successful two-point conversion by the Corsairs left the hosts staring at a 20-17 halftime deficit.
An interception by Ricardo Wright set up a 20-yard field goal by Jose Esquivel to increase the visitors’ lead to 23-17 with 4:19 left in the third quarter.
But it only took 10 seconds for Southwestern to go back on top — 24-23 — via a 75-yard scoring pass from Foster to Mitchell.
Foster then upped the lead to 31-23 on his one-yard scoring run.
But a 64-yard kick-off return by Gordon II helped Santa Monica even the game at 31 points apiece as Medina passed 14 yards to Dominique Bierria.
The hosts scored the game’s final two TDs to secure the victory, which was the first comeback win of the season for the Jags.
“It was a magical season and a big thanks goes out to everyone who played a role,” Carberry said.
•Mitchell led all receivers in the game with 207 yards on seven catches, including two TDs.
•Southwestern held Santa Monica to just two net rushing yards on 27 carries.
•Donte Haddock blocked one PAT while Rashad Greene was credited with a pick. Gonzales had five touchbacks to keep Santa Monica on a long field all night.
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