ROMOLAND -- The Summit football team didn’t let this opportunity slip through their hands.
The top-seeded SkyHawks advanced to the CIF-Southern Section Eastern Division final for the second consecutive season and this time they closed the deal, winning the program’s first championship with a 24-17 victory Saturday night at Heritage High School.
Summit senior quarterback Bernard Porter gave his team the lead for good, scoring on a five-yard run with 8 minutes 33 seconds remaining, and the defense twice stopped the third-seeded Patriots in the closing minutes to secure the victory.
“We know what it takes to get here and what it takes to win,” Porter said.
Summit, which opened in 2006, and Heritage, which opened a year later, met last season in the second round, with the SkyHawks winning, 29-22. Porter also scored the winning touchdown in the game, crossing the goal line with 8:22 remaining to erase a one-point deficit.
After knocking off second-seeded Serrano in the semifinals last season, the SkyHawks appeared to have the momentum heading into the championship game but lost to third-seeded Elsinore, 21-7.
“After last year, we have new determination, new character,” said Summit running back Jamaal Williams, a BYU-bound senior who rushed for two touchdowns against Heritage. “It’s mostly a team now. Last year was all selfishness, one player trying to do it for the whole team. This year we did it as a team, no one player, we all rely on each other.”
Summit also took a lesson from their season-opening loss to Etiwanda. They focused on teamwork and supporting each other on and off the field, then went out and won the next 13 games.
“We started to learn, as the season went by, that if we play as a team we’re going to win,” Williams said.
The SkyHawks didn’t get down Sarturday night when their 17-7 lead was erased by a Heritage touchdown late in the first half and 27-yard field goal with 10:29 left in the fourth quarter. They gathered themselves and drove down the field for the winning score two minutes later.
“I told the coach, ‘Give me an 18 lead, I’m going to get in the end zone,’ “ Porter said of the play call on his winning touchdown. “I was going to make it happen.”
Porter knew there would be no waiting for next year this time around.