FONTANA — Summit was 4 ½ minutes away from posting the biggest upset in the program’s short history, but then Kaiser snatched it all away.
The Cats, ranked No. 15 in the Southland by ESPNLA.com, scored 16 points in the final minutes Friday night to escape with a 19-7 victory against visiting Summit and give the program at least a share of its 10th consecutive Sunkist League title.
The turning point came when Kaiser punted the ball inside the Summit one-yard line with 9:43 remaining. The SkyHawks, who had two first downs through that point of the game, could not move the chains and was forced to punt.
Kaiser (9-0, 4-0) took over at the Summit 29 and began marching toward the SkyHawks’ end zone. On fourth and two at the seven-yard line, Kaiser quarterback David Bedran sneaked for the first down. One play later, running back Jimmy Awolesi broke through some are tackles and scored on a five-yard run to give the Cats their first lead, 10-7.
Summit again failed to get a first down and a bad snap on the ensuing punt went out of the end zone for a safety. Kaiser recovered an on-sides attempt and continued moving the ball against a tired Summit defense, eventually scoring on Bedran’s one-yard sneak to push its lead to 19-7.
It was Awolesi who came in for an injured Anthony Brown last season against Summit and scored both touchdowns in a 13-7 victory, including the go-ahead score with 10:05 remaining.
Dennis Taylor, who recovered an onside kick and two fumbles for Kaiser, said coach Phil Zelaya reminded the Cats of that effort during a halftime pep talk.
“He brought our memories back to last year and he told us that we can compete with anyone that we want to,” Taylor said.
Summit (6-2-1, 3-1) finished with just three first downs and committed four turnovers.
Two of Summit’s first downs came on its only scoring drive, a 56-yard reception by Devon Blackmon, followed by a 23-yard touchdown catch by Donte Deayon with 2:21 remaining in the first half.
The Cats finally got on the scoreboard on a 21-yard field goal by Ulises Mosqueda with 14 seconds remaining in the half.
“We didn’t come out with the same intensity we came out with in the first half,” said Blackmon, who was leaving for a recruiting trip to Oregon following the game. "That’s really what killed us.”