WESTLAKE VILLAGE -- Westlake and Oaks Christian went toe-to-toe again in the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division championship game Friday night.
In a rematch of the last year’s Northern Division title game, Westlake came out on top, fending off a tenacious Oaks Christian team that refused to quietly relinquish the division crown.
When it looked as if Westlake had the game in hand, Oaks Christian mounted a furious comeback in the final 90 seconds. But five touchdowns by Westlake’s Dashon Hunt proved to be too much to overcome.
Westlake (14-0) hung on for a 49-42 win over Oaks Christian (11-3) and won its second Northern Division championship in the past three years. Westlake has played in three consecutive Northern Division championship games and lost to Oaks Christian by one point last year on a missed field goal that hit the right upright.
“They’re all great, but this one is special,” Westlake coach Jim Benkert said. “This year, they redeemed all that. I’m really, really proud.”
Hunt rushed for 125 yards and scored four touchdowns on the ground. He intercepted a pass in the second quarter and returned in 20 yards for a touchdown.
Oaks Christian quarterback Brandon Dawkins threw five interceptions and the Lions committed six turnovers.
“You turn the ball over six or seven times, you can’t expect to win the game,” Oaks Christian coach Bill Redell said.
Oaks Christian built a 21-7 lead in the first half on three touchdown catches by little-used Francis Owusu. He caught four passes for 179 yards.
But Westlake scored two touchdown in less than a minute in the second quarter to tie the score, 21-21, just before halftime.
On the first drive of the second half, Hunt scored on a 26-yard run, his third touchdown of the game, and broke the tie. Westlake opened the second half with a 74-yard touchdown drive that took only 1:30. The Warriors went up, 28-21, and didn’t trail again.
Westlake scored three more touchdowns in the fourth quarter and was up comfortably, 49-28, with a little more then four minutes to play when Oaks Christian put a scare into the Warriors.
Cameron Judge scooped up the football on a fumbled snap on a punt by Westlake and ran it in for a touchdown to cut the lead to, 49-35, with under two minutes to play.
Oaks Christian recovered the ensuing onside kick, drove 49 yards in four plays and scored on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Dawkins to Ishmael Adams with 1:01 to play.
The touchdown by Adams cut the Westlake lead to seven points, 49-42. Oaks Christian tried another onside kick, but this time the football slipped through the first line of Westlake players and was recovered by Justin Moore at the 40-yard line.
Westlake, the top-ranked team in the ESPN Los Angeles prep football Top 25 rankings, was able to run out the clock and capture the championship.