West Ranch quarterback Connor Eichten threw three second-half touchdowns, including one in overtime, to lead his team to a 34-27 win over visiting Lancaster on Friday night at Valencia High School.
Eichten completed only three passes in the second half, but all were for touchdowns. He connected with Matt Bruns for a 25-yard touchdown with 49 seconds left in the third quarter. Eichten threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Chris Kim early in the fourth quarter to give West Ranch a 27-7 lead.
Lancaster scored 20 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 27-27. Cleavon Barns scored a pair of touchdowns for Lancaster and Blair Shannon caught a 15-yard touchdown pass to tie the game with two minutes to play in the game. West Ranch’s Nick Brooks blocked the extra point attempt after Shannon’s touchdown sending the game into overtime.
West Ranch scored a touchdown on its first possession in overtime. Eichten threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Matt Symanski to give West Ranch a 34-27 lead. Eichten completed 6-of-11 passes for 123 yards and three touchdowns.
West Ranch running back Zak Snell had 48 yards on 19 carries and scored a touchdown in the first half. He broke a scoreless tie in the first quarter with a 16-yard touchdown run.
West Ranch kicker Brady Stuart made two field goals and a touchdown-saving tackle in the third quarter. With the way the game ended, Stuart’s tackle ended up being a game-saver.
Michael Williams caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from Lancaster quarterback Cash Oliver to trim West Ranch’s lead to six points, 13-7, in the third quarter. But West Ranch came back to score on Bruns’ 25-yard touchdown catch and take a 20-7 lead. Lancaster’s Melvin Stovall returned the ensuing kickoff 68 yards and was stopped by Stuart, West Ranch’s last line of defense, on his team’s 31-yard line.
Kim’s touchdown catch with 10 minutes to play in the fourth quarter gave West Ranch a 27-7 lead. Kim finished with two catches for 53 yards. Then Lancaster started its rally.
Barns scored on a 4-yard run with 7:53 in the fourth quarter. Lancaster recovered an onside kick after scoring and capped another drive with a 25-yard touchdown run by Barns with 6:32 to play. Barns finished with 60 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns.
West Ranch lost a fumble, had to call timeout when only 10 players were on the field on defense for a play and could not recover an onside kick by Lancaster in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats saw a 20-point lead evaporate in less than eight minutes. If not for a blocked extra point and the tackle by Stuart, the outcome of this game could have been much different.
Add into the equation that the two coaches did not decide before the game what they were going to do if the game ended in a tie in regulation. Both teams could have walked away with a tie, but the coaches decided to play overtime.
West Ranch scored on its first and only possession in overtime. The game ended when Oliver threw an incomplete pass on fourth down and Lancaster failed to score on its possession in overtime.
In other games, Valencia beat Thousand Oaks, 39-36; Saugus beat Pasadena, 17-7; Hart beat Palmdale, 37-34; Canyon lost to Bakersfield, 43-7; and Royal shut out Golden Valley, 36-0.
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