Senior quarterback Wellington Bristow broke a tackle in the backfield, sprinted to his left and stretched the football just inside the pylon for a two point-conversion with 53 seconds left to lift Woodland Hills Taft to a 21-20 triumph over Panorama in the City Section Division III championship game.
Bristow completed 13 of 27 passes for 172 yards and three touchdowns, including an 11-yard strike to Amir Dutt to pull the top-seeded Toreadors (7-7) within 20-19.
“We knew were going for two and I knew what I wanted us to run,” Bristow said. “It was play-action where I keep it and the defense read it, but there was no way I was going down! It means so much because people were saying how bad we were all year.”
Daniel Ramirez intercepted a pass inside the Pythons’ 40-yard line with 39 seconds left to seal the win.
Melvin Linares rushed 18 times for 140 yards and all three scores for the third-seeded Pythons (8-6), who were vying for their first City football title since the school opened in 2006. Panorama had upset No. 2 San Fernando 39-13 in the semifinals.
Entering the season Taft had not won a football game since a 35-0 shutout of Chatsworth on October 27, 2017, and the Toreadors’ losing streak reached 26 before they snapped it with a 43-6 win against Van Nuys on Aug. 27.
“We’ve come a long way since we scrimmaged them [Panorama] in August — and so have they,” said first-year coach Jeff Kearin, formerly the head coach at Los Angeles Loyola and Cal State Northridge. “I can point to 10 guys right now who never put a helmet on before the season. We’ve battled all year and even tonight all bets were off, but we pulled it out!”