By Eric Terrazas
WHITTIER – La Serna High School senior quarterback Frankie Palmer scored on a 4-yard run with 23 seconds remaining in regulation, lifting the host Lancers to a thrilling 28-21 victory Friday, Nov. 29, 2013 over Burbank in the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division semifinal.
The game-winning touchdown capped an impressive day for Palmer, who accounted for three touchdowns in front of a packed house at California High. He ran for two scores and threw for another.
Friday’s triumph lifted La Serna (11-2) to the CIF-SS divisional championship game against Norwalk (13-0), which is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7. Site is to be determined.
It marks the third consecutive trip to the divisional finals for La Serna, which is attempting to win its first CIF-SS football divisional crown since 1967. The Lancers, who fell to West Covina in 2011 and Downey last year, are hoping the third time is a charm.
La Serna, trailing 21-14 in the third quarter, tied the game on Palmer’s 1-yard run that came on a quarterback rollout. Palmer’s score, which came with 3 minutes, 3 seconds left in the third quarter, capped a 15-play, 60-yard drive.
After a strong defensive stand forced a short Burbank (10-3) punt, the Lancers regained possession with under four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Palmer’s winning touchdown completed a 7-play, 44-yard drive.
Palmer finished with 165 yards while completing 12 of 22 attempts. His one touchown pass, which went 42 yards to senior wide receiver Matt Rosales, came on the game’s opening drive.
The Bulldogs quickly recovered by scoring 14 unanswered points before the end of the first quarter.
After senior running back Joseph Pendleton’s game-tying 45-yard scoring run, Burbank grabbed a 14-7 lead on junior quarterback Ryan Meredith’s 49-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Oharjee Brown. The Bulldogs’ go-ahead score was set up by a recovery of a La Serna fumble.
La Serna, however, received a defensive boost when senior defensive back D’Andre Sanchez intercepted a Meredith pass and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown, which tied the game at 14-14 before halftime.
The Bulldogs grabbed a 21-14 advantage in the third quarter’s early stages when Meredith threw a 38-yard scoring pass to Brown, which was caught on a deflection.
The only remaining hurdle that separates La Serna from a CIF-SS divisional title is Norwalk, which defeated Muir 35-28 in Friday’s other divisional semifinal.
CIF State Division II second round
Santiago 3, Whittier Christian 0
Whittier Christian’s thrilling 2013 season came to an end when it lost Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 to top-seeded Santiago High of Corona, 19-25, 21-25, 24-26.
The Heralds, which recently captured their second consecutive CIF-SS Division 2A crown, finished with an overall record of 33-7.
Senior outside hitter Deanna Blaine recorded a team-high 15 kills while fellow senior outside hitter Kylee Wolfe added 10.