Top-seeded Central High took a 21-0 lead against Edison in the first 8 minutes of a Central Section Division I quarterfinal seemingly headed toward a running-clock finish at Koligian Stadium on Friday night.
Then the Grizzlies held on … and on … and on.
And they denied the No. 8 Tigers, 24-19, only after Edison reached the Central 3-yard line in the final minute before Samuel Satele recorded one sack of quarterback Shareef Goodwin and Jake Rohrmann and Brandon Ballard teamed for another on the final play of the game.
Goodwin, the team’s third-string quarterback until a couple of weeks ago, was sensational in marching the Tigers (5-7) 94 yards in 7 minutes.
In the drive, with all of about 5,000 fans on their feet, Goodwin converted first downs by running for 1 yard on fourth-and-1 and completing passes of 12 yards to Anthony Smith and 24 yards to Brian Johnson on fourth-and-7 and fourth-and-18.
He then drilled a 17-yarder to Smith to the 3-yard line with 28 seconds to go.
But Satele – a Bee Defensive Player of the Year candidate, if not overall Player of the Year choice – charged up the middle to sack Goodwin at the 10.
Goodwin then spiked the ball to stop the clock with 8 seconds to go. But he couldn’t run away from Rohrmann and Ballard far behind the line of scrimmage to end it as Central’s players and coaches stormed the field.
The 10-1 Grizzlies under first-year coach Kyle Biggs will remain at home and with a 10-game winning streak to play No. 4 Clovis West (8-3) next Friday in a semifinal.
Central routed the Golden Eagles 49-28 at Koligian on Oct. 28 en route to going 5-0 in the Tri-River Athletic Conference.
The Grizzlies bolted to the 21-0 first-quarter lead on a 13-yard pass from Trent Tompkins to Malik White, Mathew Mendoza’s 30-yard fumble return and a 2-yard run by Mendoza.
Edison, which opened the season 0-5 against one of the most difficult nonleague schedules in the section, rallied in the second quarter, hacking the margin to 21-19 on 11- and 3-yard scoring runs by Jaylan King, and Taylin Green’s 40-yard fumble return.
Central closed the scoring on Tiago Paim’s 25-yard field goal on the final play of the first half.
Tompkins, a sophomore who entered the game having completed 64 percent of his passes while throwing for 2,664 yards and 31 TDs, was held to 11-of-24 passing for 112 yards against a Tigers secondary led by Elijah Isiah, Kevin Wilson, Mckinley Lee, Karrod Johnson and Smith.