CORONA — Before the St. Bonaventure football team could begin thinking about a CIF state bowl bid, the Seraphs had to figure out a way to beat Corona Centennial.
The Huskies have been to the state finals the last three seasons and seem to own the formula on what it takes to get there.
But the Seraphs put a big dent in Centennial’s chances for a fourth straight trip to Home Depot Center and likely boosted their own hopes of getting back with a 29-27 victory Friday night at Centennial.
“We’ve got the upper hand,” said junior running back Zack Green. “We’re probably going to state now.”
Green and Shaun Wick each ran for more than 100 yards against a defensive front led by Arizona State-bound tackle Milo Jordan.
“They pretty much ran the ball down our throats,” said Centennial coach Matt Logan.
Wick also had a key red-zone interception as Centennial looked to expand its lead on the opening drive of the second half. The Huskies came out of halftime owning a 20-14 advantage and marched inside the St. Bonaventure 20 on a 33-yard reception by Isaac Crandall and a roughing-the-passer penalty on the same play.
But Wick read the eyes of Centennial quarterback Hayden Gavett and snatched the ball out of the air inside the five-yard line.
“I was taking a run blitz, but then I saw pass and dropped back,” Wick said of his interception. “I jumped up and got it.”
St. Bonaventure then converted two fourth-down opportunities on the ensuing drive before taking its first lead of the game, 21-20, on a seven-yard touchdown run by Wick.
“If you’re going to stay with just a seven or eight-man front, we’re going to run the ball,” said St. Bonaventure coach Todd Therrien.
Centennial got back into the red zone early in the fourth quarter while still trailing by a point, but Logan elected to go for the first down on fourth and eight and the Seraphs stopped them short.
They then proceeded to march down the field one more time and take a 29-20 lead on a six-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Marc Evans to junior tight end Spencer Andrews, followed by a two-point conversion run.
Centennial was able to cut the deficit to two on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Gavett to Giles Guy-Williams with 2:51 remaining, but St. Bonaventure recovered the ensuing on-side kick and was able to run out the clock against a weary Centennial defense.
“We have to get better from this,” Logan said. “We’re a young and inexperienced team and we knew we had some work to do. Now, we have a lot of work to do.”