Fresno-San Joaquin Memorial scored on two long touchdowns in the final five minutes and held off Garces for a 28-21 victory in the 54th Holy Bowl on Saturday.
The Rams (0-3) drove into the red zone with 13 second left on a 26-yard pass from Joseph Campbell, but he was tackled in bounds trying to scramble on the following play as time expired.
“With Joe being back and having that spark to be able to run and throw we are a really good football team.” Garces coach Paul Golla said. “This is game 1 for (Campbell). I am very excited about the process. We are getting better every week. The goal is to win the last game in the playoffs and not the preseason. We believe in these guys.”
It was Campbell’s first game of the season after being sidelined for several weeks with Valley Fever. The senior quarterback finished with 239 yards passing, including two 35-yard touchdown passes to Phillip Bradford.
Bradford’s first TD, followed by a two-point conversion, gave Garces its first lead at 14-7 with 9:46 to play in the game.
Memorial (3-1) responded on the very next play from scrimmage to tie the game at 14-14 on a 73-yard touchdown pass from Flinn Collins to Mac Dalena, and then took a 21-14 lead on their next possession on a 43-yard scoring run by Jordan Hornbeak with 4:38 left.
Campbell and Bradford connected again less than two minutes later to tie the game at 21-21 with 3:08 to play.
Collins then hit T.J. Hall with what turned out to be the game-winner, a 49-yard scoring pass with less than 2 minutes to play.
After scoring just two touchdowns combined in the first three quarters, Garces and Memorial had 36 points in the fourth quarter alone.
The Panthers led 7-0 at the half, but Garces closed the gap with its first touchdown of the season, a 1-yard run by Jalen Smith with 4:11 left in the third quarter. The Rams were shutout in their first two games of the season. The extra point was blocked, leaving the score at 7-6 entering the fourth quarter.
“We are not trying to play our best football right now,” Campbell said. “We are just trying to go full-gear to build up for that.”
Taft 42, Long Beach-Cabrillo 22
Sophomore Bryce Veach rushed for 261 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Wildcats (3-1). Garrett Jeffries threw two scoring passes of 18 and 30 yards to Jacob Ellis. Taft had 391 yards in total offense. Austin Massey had an interception to lead the Wildcats' defense.