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Last Minute Touchdown Eliminates La Salle From CIF

Levi Taylor (15) high steps his way into the End zone. - Photo by Jacob Bigely

Levi Taylor (15) high steps his way into the End zone. – Photo by Jacob Bigely

By Christian Romo

With his team up by five with only five seconds to play, Silverado quarterback Levi Taylor huddled with his teammates one last time. But Taylor wasn’t on the field, and he wasn’t watching junior Jerry Katoa’s game-ending sack.

“I was praying,” said Taylor.

And with three lead changes in the final two minutes, it’s hard to believe there were any atheists on the sidelines.

Advancing to the CIF Division 9 semifinals for the first time since 2008, the Silverado Hawks defeated the La Salle Lancers 45-40 Friday night at Kohorst Field in Pasadena. Dionzae Nolan (1) scored the game-winning touchdown from three yards out with only twenty seconds left, finishing a sixteen-carry, 109-yard night for the Hawks junior.

“It was insane,” Nolan said of the game’s final two minutes. “I felt like my heart was going to explode.”

The Hawks took their first lead of the game on a 66-yard touchdown pass from Taylor (15) to senior Daniel Dexter (14) with just over two minutes left in the game. The lead was short lived, however, as La Salle junior Dante Coxsum (13) took the next kickoff 79 yards for a go-ahead score, sending the home crowd into a red-and-blue monsoon.

But Silverado settled down, and after a 47-yard kickoff return from junior Damarea Dunnigan (21) gave the Hawks the ball on La Salle’s 43-yard line, Taylor marched his team down the field for the game’s deciding score.

“We won that game basically twice…it was a thriller,” said Taylor. Silverado coach Rafael Dinorio echoed his players, calling the game “the craziest I’ve ever been associated with.”

The Lancers started strong, building a 35-21 halftime lead after a double-pass found senior Harrison MacDonald for a 34-yard touchdown with five seconds left in the half. But the Silverado front seven stuffed the Lancer running attack in the second half, allowing only one touchdown after halftime and ending La Salle’s season.

“My kids fought hard…my twenty-two seniors gave it their all,” said La Salle coach Russell Gordon. Senior running back Amon Milliner (5) got 191 yards on 37 carries, scoring two touchdowns in his final game as a Lancer. “Whoever gets him to play on Saturdays is going to be very lucky,” said Gordon.

La Salle finishes the season at 7-5, their best since going 9-2 in 2013, while winning their first playoff game since 2006. The Hawks will face local power Antelope Valley next Friday at 7:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to the Division 9 title game.

Arcadia 21-22 Quartz Hill

A last-second defensive stand gave the Quartz Hill Rebels a 22-21 win over the visiting Arcadia Apaches Friday night in Quartz Hill. The Apaches finish the season at 9-3, their best record since 2011.

Polytechnic 0-49 Aquinas

The Aquinas Falcons beat the Poly Panthers 49-0 Friday night in San Bernadino. Poly finishes the season at 11-1.

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