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Photos: Steve Marcotte / OsideNews
Oceanside CA- The North County Cobras were 4.6 seconds and three plays away from an undefeated season as they fell to the Inglewood Blackhawks 23-21 in the LCFL Championship game, Saturday. A 50 yard field goal by 35 year old place-kicker, Mike Scott, with time running out, ended the Cobras bid for perfection and propelled the Blackhawks to their fourth straight LCFL-West title.
The game started out like it was going to be a sprint to the finish with both teams scoring on their first possessions. The Cobras used a 53 yard kick return, three plays to go 46 yards topped by an Ivory Herd touchdown, PAT good, 7-0 Cobras with 45 seconds off the clock. A 52 yard return by Tony Parham on the ensuing kick-off and a TD pass to Blackhawk wide out Solomon Jones was all Inglewood needed to tie up the game, 13:57 left in the first quarter. Cobras had to punt on their next possession and the Blackhawks scored on the first play from scrimmage, a 70 yard catch and run by Solomon Jones had the Blackhawks up 14-7, 10:11 left in the first quarter. The Blackhawks added 3 points on 40 yard kick by Mike Scott ,17-7 and 3:14 left in the first quarter.
The Cobras began the second quarter at the Blackhawk 44 and drove to the red zone in three plays. Ramell Watts dove into the end zone from 16 yards out but was ruled down at the 1 on a play that likely would have been overturned on replay. The next play, Jerry Garrett was hit and fumbled away the scoring opportunity. The back and forth continued through most of the second quarter until the Blackhawks were in position for a field goal attempt. The kick was blocked by Travis Taylor and the Cobras took over. Garrett hit former Oregon State stand-out, Dre Alexander for a 30 yard touchdown pass, 14-17 at the half.
Garrett hit Alexander again with 1:08 left in the third quarter to take the lead, 21-17. The Blackhawks drove deep into Cobra territory but North County held and set the Inglewood team up with fourth and long but still in range for the field goal. The Blackhawks had a procedure penalty that sent them back another five yards and seemingly out of FG range but Mike Scott nailed it from 53 yards to bring them within one.
The Cobras turned the ball over on two consecutive possessions, one leading to a field goal attempt from 46 that went wide. The Cobra defense was able to hold the Blackhawks offense out of the end zone for three possessions, on short fields. The Cobra’s inability to get a first down with less than a minute-thirty left to play, eventually led to their downfall.
An excellent punt and a penalty had the Blackhawks pinned back at their own 15 with 1:15 left in the game, trailing by 1 and no time outs. Two quick, short passes by Inglewood QB, Brandon Brooks and long runs after the catch by Deshawn Edmond had the Blackhawks within range for kicker Mike Scott and with 4.6 seconds remaining, he was down the middle from 50 yards and promptly mobbed by the Blackhawk bench.
The Cobras had an excellent season but that mattered little to the dejected players watching the Blackhawks celebrate their fourth straight title. Inglewood kicker and game MVP, Mike Scott had seen this movie before. In 2004 he had the same situation where had the game winning kick for the championship. ” I just kept thinking about that kick when I set up for this one.” said Scott “I hit it straight and I knew it was good.” The kick was indeed good and might have been good from 51 yards as it barely got over the crossbar but that’s all it took to make the bus ride back to Inglewood a jubilant one for the Blackhawks.