It did not matter that Vista Murrieta outplayed its opponent; it was the number on the scoreboard that sealed the 2012 championship title for Corona Centennial.
The Broncos outgained the Huskies 576 yards to 416 in the CIF Southern Section Inland Division Championship game Friday but it was Centennial that walked away with the crown, 30-28.
Corona Centennial ended Vista Murrieta’s 27-game (on-field) win streak, which began the game after the Huskies beat the Broncos for the 2010 CIF Championship.
Vista Murrieta squandered away several scoring opportunities. The Broncos drove and then stalled in the red zone four times, with Centennial forcing turnovers and shutting down Vista Murrieta scoring opportunities. The Huskies defense stood fast late in the fourth quarter and denied the Broncos again, making a game-saving play on a two-point conversion attempt to tie the game, setting the stage for overtime.
The Broncos and Huskies left the field tied 14-14 at halftime. Centennial had dodged several Vista bullets to keep the score close. Two goal line interceptions and a missed Bronco field goal kept the score close and the Huskies in the game. That was all Centennial Coach Matt Logan’s team needed.
After the Broncos took a 16-14 lead early in the second half on a safety, Centennial’s QB Robert Webber tossed a 60-yard TD strike to Barry Ware. The Huskies led 20-16 as the third quarter cane to a close.
Webber took the Huskies down field early in the fourth quarter. The Huskies drive ended in a 1-yard touchdown run by Austin Renken to put Centennial ahead 27-16.
Coach Coley Candaele’s Broncos came back with Nick Stevens engineering a drive deep into Huskies territory. Running back Kishawn “Rickey” Holmes took the ball the last 18 yards with a run up the middle and the Huskies lead was cut to 27-22.
Centennial answered with a drive of its own, moving the ball into field goal range for Rigo Luna. Luna responded with a 47-yard field goal in the rain to make it Huskies 30, Broncos 22 with three minutes and 33 seconds left in the game.
It looked like the game was over for the Broncos but they came roaring back once again. With less than three minutes to play, Vista Murrieta converted on fourth and five on the Bronco 35; Stevens once again drove his team down the field. The Broncos scored on an 18-yard run by Su’a Cravens and narrowed the score to 30-28 with one minute and 18 seconds left.
The Broncos attempted to tie the score with a 2-point conversion and send the game into overtime. QB Stevens lofted a pass into the corner of the end zone toward Cravens. Huskies defender Gavin Andrews stuck to Cravens and broke up the scoring attempt and preserved the Huskies victory.
"You’re not going to win championship football games messing up in the red zone,” Coach Candaele said. “We just didn’t get it done, but they did. They made plays in the red zone and did what they needed to do to win the championship.”
It was a very good year for Vista Murrieta football. The Broncos' only loss came in the final.
It is time to start another winning streak.