VALLEY GLEN -- The Loyola football team erased a 15-point deficit and beat visiting Crespi, 36-35, in overtime in the Serra League season finale at L.A. Valley College on Friday night.
The win sealed second place in the Serra League for Loyola. Crespi’s playoff fate was left in a three-way coin flip at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame High School.
Crespi, Notre Dame and Bishop Amat ended up in a three-way tie for third place in the Serra League with 1-3 records. The third and final spot from the Serra League in the Pac-5 Division playoffs was decided by coin flips. Bishop Amat, which had completed its regular season and did not play Friday night, won the flips and will advance.
Alemany beat Notre Dame, 21-14, to wrap up its second Serra League championship in a row and complete a 4-0 undefeated league run.
Even though Loyola didn’t need to win its league finale to make the playoffs, the Cubs played as if it were an elimination game in the playoffs.
“That’s who we are,” Loyola receiver Chaz Anderson said. “That really displayed our personality out there.”
Loyola’s Kodi Whitfield caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Nick Cotton in the first overtime period to tie the score, 35-35. Conrad Ukropina knocked through the all-important extra point to win the game.
“We kept battling,” Loyola coach Mike Christensen said. “It was nice to see. We preach that stuff all year.”
Crespi scored a touchdown on a one-yard quarterback sneak by Cody Cordell on the Celts first possession in overtime. But kicker Patrick Cassley missed the extra point. It was his third missed point-after try in the game.
When asked if the missed extra points were the difference in the game, Crespi coach Jon Mack could only say, “Who knows?”
Christensen pointed out that his kicker missed a field-goal try and that evened out the missed extra points. Either way, the game was decided by inches, be it on extra points or at the goal line.
Crespi took an early 10-0 lead in the first quarter and extended it to 22-7 in the second quarter. But Loyola battled back, tying the score in the third quarter and sending the game into overtime on a one-yard touchdown run by Wyatt Bradford with 3:31 to play in the fourth quarter.
Crespi’s Terry Williams scored a touchdown on his first carry of the game. He ran the ball in for a 44-yard touchdown and gave the Celts a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
Five minutes later, Cassley made a 37-yard field goal to give Crespi a 10-0 lead with four minutes to play in the first quarter.
Cotton threw his first of three touchdown passes with under a minute to play in the first quarter and cut the Crespi lead to three points, 10-7. He hit Whitfield with a 12-yard pass.
Crespi went up 16-7 on a one-yard touchdown sneak by Cordell in the second quarter. But that’s when Cassley’s kicking troubles began. He missed the extra point, narrowly outside the upright.
Crespi pushed the lead to 22-7 when Corey Peoples recovered a fumble and ran it in 28 yards for a touchdown. Cassley missed his second extra-point try when his kick hit the upright.
Loyola rallied late in the second quarter. After forcing Crespi to punt, Loyola took over on the Cubs’ 39-yard line with 28 seconds before halftime. Two plays later, Cotton hit Eamon McOsker with a 32-yard touchdown pass and cut the lead to 22-14 before halftime.
On its first possession of the second half, Loyola mounted a 15-play drive that chewed up nearly seven minutes and tied the score, 22-22. Anderson capped the drive with a seven-yard touchdown catch. Whitfield’s two-point conversion catch in the corner of the end zone knotted the game up.
Crespi took the lead back midway through the fourth quarter on a 32-yard touchdown catch by Nicolas Metoyer.
But less than three minutes later, Loyola tied the score again, 29-29, on Bradford’s only touchdown run of the game. He carried the ball 19 times for 104 yards.
Whitfield, who won the game with his 25-yard touchdown catch in overtime, caught five passes for 81 yards and two touchdowns.
Williams gained 99 yards on 18 carries and caught five passes for 78 yards. Cordell was 16-for-20 for 243 yards passing and three touchdowns. He completed 10 passes in a row at one point in the second half.
Crespi receiver Michael Davison caught four passes for 79 yards, but was injured in the third quarter. He was tackled on the sideline after making a catch and hurt his knee. He had to be carried off the field after the play.