“I knew it was coming,” Douglas said of the Mira Costa comeback attempt. “Then we scored on T-Gray’s touchdown to start the half, I thought we might be all right, but Mira Costa is a great team that never quits. “We were playing not to lose instead of going for the win, myself included, and got too conservative. I told the guys at the start of the fourth quarter that we had to open it back up again. And when we did that, we started driving.” After Gray’s 80-yard scoring run – his third rushing TD of the night – gave Narbonne a 33-7 lead at the start of the second half, Mira Costa scored 20 straight points to close within a touchdown. And Narbonne’s memories of past years began to flood its psyche. “You definitely start to think about it,” said Gray, who had 114 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries while adding a 7-yard touchdown reception. “But at a certain point, you’ve just got to believe in your team and let it go.” Kelly led the valiant Mira Costa comeback attempt, throwing for 237 of his 308 yards and all four of his touchdowns in the second half. Kelly finished 17-for-34 passing overall and had a 1-yard scoring run that put Mira Costa ahead, 7-0. Kelly hit six different receivers, most notably Johnny Cleator (131 yards, 2 TDs, 5 catches) and Jon Personius (110 yards, 1 TD, 7 catches). Mira Costa running back Adrien Dotson contributed 149 rushing yards and a touchdown on 23 carries and had one receiving touchdown. “Tonight they got out a bit farther than in the previous games, and we can’t get down like that in the first half,” Mira Costa coach Don Morrow said. “We dug ourselves quite a hole, and they have some terrific athletes, and they got us with their superior quickness. “But the best thing we had going is that we had a lot of spirit. There was no quit on this team.” Narbonne lost a second-half fumble, had 11 penalties for 85 yards and several defensive lapses before finally recovering. The first half was testament to Narbonne’s athleticism. Byron Moore returned Mira Costa’s first kickoff 56 yards to set up a 2-yard scoring run by Gray. Narbonne’s Sean Parker made a first-quarter interception that set up another big play – Moore’s 20-yard touchdown reception off a picture-perfect, 20-yard halfback pass from senior Eddie Mendivil, who was Narbonne’s starting quarterback as a sophomore. That gave Narbonne a 12-7 lead. Moten had a 73-yard run to set up a 1-yard scoring run by Gray and a 19-7 lead with 19 seconds left in the first quarter. Deonta Douglas sacked Kelly in the second quarter and forced a fumble, setting up a 6-yard scoring run from Moten for a 26-7 halftime lead. Defensive end Tim Tucker also had three sacks. Narbonne was determined to create a a different outcome. “I couldn’t let Mira Costa come back on us again, especially after the last two years,” Moten said. “We prepared so much for this game because it meant so much to us. I felt I had to lead the team.” email@example.comWant local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! DOGFIGHT: Gauchos still undefeated after fending off Mira Costa’s spirited rally. By Tony Ciniglio STAFF WRITER Coach Manuel Douglas said he did not get too excited as Narbonne sliced through the Mira Costa defense in the first half with its superior athleticism. Douglas remained composed even as Narbonne opened a 26-point lead when Thomas Gray scored on an 80-yard touchdown run to start the second half. Douglas remembered all too well how Narbonne had held first-half leads over Mira Costa the last two years only to see the Mustangs storm back with their unrelenting and gritty attitude. So when Mira Costa fought back on Thursday night, Douglas and the Gauchos were ready for it. Quarterback Josh Moten rushed for 171 yards and two touchdowns and also threw for 85 yards and another score as Narbonne outlasted Mira Costa, 47-39, for a nonleague win for the first time in the three-year series. Narbonne also rushed for 387 yards. Mira Costa (1-2) had a shot to tie it at the end, but linebacker Adrian Ferns hit quarterback Sean Kelly’s arm as he was trying to complete a fourth-down pass with 50 seconds left. The ball fell incomplete, allowing Narbonne (3-0) to breathe a sigh of relief.
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