when he caught Matt Abbey's 45-yard bomb with 39 seconds left to
propel the Golden Knights past Redondo, 17-16, on Friday night at
Friedman Field in the CIF quarterfinals.
"Abbey put out a perfect ball," said Stephens, who had just one
catch for zero yards prior to his game-tying grab. "I had the easiest
job, just making sure I caught it."
At the line of scrimmage, Abbey read man-to-man coverage on
"I knew it was gonna be open," said Abbey, who was 14 of 24 for
197 yards and two touchdowns, the other a 41-yarder to Chris Hertz.
Jason Castillo, who also had a 39-yard field goal, kicked the
ensuing extra point, which proved to be the game-winner after Darryl
Carter's sack turned into a Brian Lynch fumble recovery on Redondo's
final play of the game.
It was fitting that the St. Francis victory was punctuated by the
"I'm just proud of the effort," St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds said.
"It happened to be one play in the end, but we played strong the
The Golden Knights (9-3) won the turnover battle with the Seahawks
(9-3), 2-1, and also registered four sacks.
Their biggest achievement was holding star Seahawk running back
Kevin Ellison to just 69 yards in 18 carries, a week after he had 225
yards in 25 carries against Paramount.
Ellison did have two touchdowns, but the Seahawks only mustered a
field goal on an epic second-half drive.
Redondo's Brian Blumberg kicked a 30-yard field goal to tie the
game 10-10 with 11:29 remaining in the fourth quarter. It culminated
a 21-play, 12:31 drive that covered 68 yards and encompassed the
entire third quarter.
"Defense definitely won this game," Stephens said.
After Ellison's three-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter, it
was time for the St. Francis offense to do its part.
"We put ourselves, in practice, in those types of situations,"
That practice has Bonds and company in the semifinals for the
first time since 2000.