The Lompoc Braves thought they had weathered the storm. But Corona del Mar kept coming back until they pulled out a 35-34 thriller in a CIF Division 4 semifinal game in Costa Mesa.
After losing a 28-10 second half lead, the Braves found themselves down 29-28 with just over three minutes to play.
But the Braves used a double pass and the trick play worked to perfection. Xavier Nix passed it back to Greg Lewis who then fired it down field to a wide open Johnny Manzo who raced 85 yards for the touchdown and Lompoc led 34-29.
But with 45 seconds to go, Cal-bound quarterback Chase Garbers completed a pass to John Humphries for a 19-yard touchdown that capped an 85-yard drive for the winning score.
Lompoc looked like they were going to cruise into next week’s title game.
Shemar Savage took a short pass and raced 79 yards on the third play from scrimmage to give the Braves a 7-0 lead.
Toa Taua caught a short screen from Kameron Davis and broke a couple of tackles and scored from 14 yards out to put Lompoc up 14-10.
The Braves led 21-10 at the half and extended the lead to 28-10 early in the third quarter on a short td run by Manzo.
But Corona del Mar used some big pass plays from Garbers to climb back into the game and eventually climb over the Braves to advance to the championship game where they play the top seed Sierra Canyon.