They needed all 48 minutes of the game, but Bishop Diego football pulled out a thrilling 28-21 win over Westlake on the road on Friday.
With two minutes remaining and the game knotted up at 21-21, Cardinal defensive lineman JD Vargas came away with a sack to force a fourth down and a punt by the Warriors.
Quarterback Tua Rojas then led the march down the field, beginning with a 12-yard pass to Gabe Villa and drawing a late hit penalty out of bounds to bring the ball near midfield.
Following a 20-yard scamper by Villa and a 5-yard rush by Kitt, the Cardinals were at the Westlake 30-yard line with 54 seconds to go.
Rojas then called his own number, scrambling for 25 yards down to the 5-yard line as the final seconds ticked off.
After getting down to the 3-yard line, it was Rojas with the keeper once again, bursting into the endzone for a touchdown with 30 seconds remaining.
The defense then held strong in the final seconds to secure the 28-21 lead and keep Bishop Diego’s playoff hopes alive.
The early stages of the game were not as dramatic, as neither team found the endzone in the first quarter.
Then, to begin the second quarter, Bishop Diego’s Oscar Mauia broke the scoreless tie with a 3-yard rushing touchdown to go up 7-0.
Westlake then marched down the field and answered with a 7-yard passing touchdown to tie things up at 7-7 with 2:14 left in the half.
However, 2:14 was too much time for the Cardinals offense, which responded with an 80-yard drive down the field that included a 13-yard run by Kitt and a 10-yard reception by John Michael Flint.
The drive was capped off by Mauia’s second rushing touchdown of the day to go up 14-7 heading into halftime.
Coming out of halftime, the Warriors got a huge spark in the form of a 60-yard rushing touchdown to open the third quarter and bring the game back even at 14-14.
That 14-14 score held for the entirety of the third quarter as both defenses settled in out of the locker room.
Bishop Diego’s offense put together a solid drive to begin the fourth quarter, and Kitt cashed in the score from 4 yards out to go back up seven at 21-14 with 11:20 remaining.
Westlake responded immediately with a 30-yard touchdown pitch and catch with 7:05 to go, bringing the two teams even once again.
Neither team threatened for the ensuing five minutes before Vargas’ clutch sack that led to Rojas and the Cardinals’ game-winning drive.
Bishop Diego (3-6, 2-2) will now face off against Simi Valley (5-4, 2-2) at La Playa Stadium on Thursday in a Marmonte League matchup with huge implications, as the winner will finish in third place in the league and earn a postseason spot.