JSerra Catholic (San Juan Capistrano, California) needed a boost while trailing late in the Trinity League vs. the USA Showcase game against Milton (Georgia).
The Lions turned to senior quarterback Garrett Phillips.
“I just felt like we needed a spark,” head coach Pat Harlow said. “I’ve got a lot of faith in him … General was doing fine, but I thought we needed a spark.”
He gave them that electricity and JSerra won 17-14.
“We just played better (in the second half),” Harlow said. “We couldn’t have played worse in the first half.”
Starting quarterback General Booty struggled to move the ball, but he wasn’t the only one. The offense was flat in the first half, and it didn’t help that three-star running back Chris Street was fighting off a sickness.
Sammy Green took more reps than normal at running back as Street took more snaps at wide receiver than typical.
“I knew they were going to key on me, so I was glad he got to get some shine and get some reps in,” Street said. “He did great, I was so proud of him.”
But Street still made his presence felt when JSerra got the ball inside the red zone.
Trailing 14-7 with about nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, JSerra punted. It looked like the Milton returner lost the ball in the sun and moved out of the way. It bounced to the 10-yard line.
Milton tried to get down field by going deep. New Zealand Williams picked off the pass around midfield.
Then Phillips did what the offense had been unable to do up to that point: he moved the ball quickly.
“I’m so proud of Garrett, I feel like he should get more snap in,” Street said. “Today he really proved why he should.”
Phillips completed a 33-yard strike to Earnest McDaniel, putting the ball inside the 10-yard line. Then Street got the handoff.
He went to his left and a pile of Milton defenders surrounded him. He somehow broke free, got back to the middle and fought through one more Eagle as he fell into the end zone.
The defense stayed strong, forcing a turnover on downs, and Milton moved the ball well enough to kick a field goal and take the lead.
Milton drove quickly though, getting the ball to the 19-yard line and enough time for a couple more plays. But Malaki Te’o sacked the quarterback and forced a fumble. Milton picked it back up, but they lost 18 yards on the play.
Out of field goal range, they went for the Hail Mary. Defensive line pressure made the ball fall well short.
JSerra took home the win.
Harlow said he would have to evaluate film before deciding which quarterback will start next week.