San Pedro High football had a fourth-and-goal situation from the two-yard line, as they were dangerously close to grabbing a lead on their most hated adversary, Narbonne of Harbor City. The Pirates were only down, 12-9 at the time, and a simple field goal at the very least would have tied this Marine League contest and sent it into overtime. But like all teams, the temptation to go for it in those situations are extremely high.
The intention to go for the win was good, but the Gauchos were ready... as senior running back Pete Palacios got stuffed for no gain with 1:10 to play, turning it over on downs.
Narbonne eventually took another safety with eight seconds to play, but stopped San Pedro after the ensuing kickoff two plays later to survive with a 12-11 victory, deflating the hopes of the Pirates who fought so hard all the way until the end. San Pedro (4-3 overall) starts 0-2 in the Marine League for only the second time, and first since the 2002 season.
In all three of the Pirates' losses to Narbonne, Redondo Union and Carson, they were only by a combined eight points. That's how dangerously close San Pedro is to being 7-0 right now.
Two second-quarter turnovers by San Pedro when sophomore quarterback Jacob Miller threw an interception to Narbonne's Aaron Corbin (who returned it 62 yards) and a lost fumble by Miller right when he took the snap, led to a pair of touchdowns by the Gauchos' senior quarterback Eban Jackson of 23 and 27 yards on similar read-option plays for a 12-0 lead. In that second quarter, the Pirates turned it over a third time on the last play of the first half.
Still, San Pedro, as they have done so many times in this rivalry battle, refused to fold.
Starting off the third quarter on offense, San Pedro exhibited ball control and had Narbonne's high-powered offense that scored 53 on Banning of Wilmington the previous week play 'the waiting game' with a 13-play, 67-yard drive that consumed six minutes and 29 seconds, ending with a six-yard touchdown run off a sweep pattern by sophomore RB/DB Antonio Frazier.
In quick order, Narbonne would drive to the San Pedro 12-yard line in less than two minutes, but the drive stalled when kicker Angel Garcia was short on his 29-yard field goal attempt that missed badly. The Pirates got a break when a holding penalty nullified a seven-yard touchdown run by Narbonne senior running back Johnell Jackson.
San Pedro looked like they converted on a fourth-and-short situation with ease in the red zone early in the fourth quarter on a Miller quarterback sneak, but the referees spotted the ball just shy of the first down marker. Yet, it didn't hinder the Pirates as Johnell Jackson's run got stoned in the end zone by the swarming Pirate defense for a safety, cutting the Gauchos' lead to 12-9 with 5:20 remaining in the game.
On San Pedro's last real possession, they would drive all the way to Narbonne's two-yard line, but Palacios was completely bottled up on a run up the gut by at least six Gaucho defenders.
San Pedro's defense was stout against Narbonne's no-huddle spread offense despite Eban Jackson rushing for 101 yards on 16 carries. The Pirates stopped all four of Narbonne's attempts to convert on fourth down, one of which was an interception by senior linebacker Mike Hannifin midway through the first quarter. Both Frazier and senior defensive back Cean Tukes Jr. broke up passes that could have been touchdowns.
Junior running back Chris Alvidrez was the workhorse for San Pedro's 'Pound-N-Ground' offense, rushing for a game-high 137 yards on 26 carries.
Next Friday, the Pirates begin another two-game road trip with another rivalry game against host Banning.