MISSION HILLS -- When Devon Dunn plays well, so does Alemany. And on Friday night, the junior quarterback played about as well as he has all season.
Dunn completed 18-of-25 passes for 259 yards with a touchdown. Wait, there's more. He also carried the ball 14 times and gained 75 yards on the ground with another two scores. The end result: A 30-28 Serra League victory over visiting Encino Crespi.
“How Devon goes is how we go, most times,'' Warriors coach Dean Herrington said. “He played some darned near perfect football for us tonight. He is getting better and better every week. I think that bodes well for this team the rest of the season.
It was an important win for the Warriors (6-2, 2-0), No. 13 in the ESPNLosAngeles.com rankings. They remain in the hunt for the league title with two games left in regular season. Crespi (7-2, 1-2), No. 18 in most recent poll, could be in trouble.
“This was big, Crespi is our rival, we played our buts off, gave it 150 percent,'' Dunn said. “There was no way we were going to lose at home.''
Following a penalty in the fourth quarter, John Sanchez booted a 41-yard field goal to give Alemany a 30-28 lead with 7:37 remaining in the game.
Chris Harper made a diving catch, a 37-yarder, to move the ball into Alemany territory. On the next play, in the wildcat formation, Mike Davison took the snap and scored on a 27-yard run to give Crespi a 28-27 lead with 1:10 left in the third quarter.
Trailing by a point midway through the second half, Dunn directed a time-consuming drive that was capped by a 5-yard touchdown run by Steven Mitchell. With 2:45 remaining in the third quarter, the Warriors took the lead once more, 27-22.
“Dunn is great player, he proved that tonight,'' Crespi coach Jon Mack said. “We knew we had to stop him, but he was too good for our defense.''
Raymond Davison recovered a fumble at the Alemany 40-yards line to open the second half and the Celts went right to their bag of tricks.
Harper took the ball from fellow wideout Davison and threw what appeared to be a 33-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Massai Ephriam. The score, however, was called back for penalty. It did not matter though. A few minutes later, Harper caught a 25-yard touchdown pass to give Crespi a 22-21 lead with 7:41 left in the third quarter.
Dunn had his way with the Crespi defense in the first half. His 11-yard touchdown run extended the advantage to 21-12 with 2:41 in the second quarter. Dunn 158 yards passing and another 57 yards on the ground in the first 24 minutes of play.
“I don't worry about stats, I don't feed into the hype,'' Dunn said. “As long as we win, that's all that matters. The other stuff will take care of itself.''
Brad Kaaya replaced starter Cody Cordell in the second quarter and directed a scoring drive. He connected with Harper on a 9-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion failed and Crespi trailed 14-12 with 3:35 before the break.
The Warriors moved the ball particularly well through the air in the first quarter. Accordingly, they went back to what worked in the second quarter as Dunn completed passes to multiple receivers. Then on fourth down, he hit Corey Sims on a 25-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 14-6 with 8:57 remaining in the first half.
The Celts appeared determined to establish the run early on. They did just that behind Terry Williams, who had gains of 38 and 27 yards. Cordell scored on a 1-yard run to give Crespi a 6-0 lead with 10:04 left in the first quarter of play.
The Warriors wasted little time in answering. Dunn completed four passes for 67 yards and capped the drive with a 6-yard touchdown. As a result, Alemany took its first advantage of the game, 7-6, with 7:53 remaining in the first quarter.
Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.