April 16, 2024

Call it a second miracle in San Diego.

One night after a tipped pass gave Birmingham High a football playoff victory on the final play against Del Norte, St. Bonaventure pulled out a 21-20 victory over St. Augustine on Saturday night on the final play in its Division 1-A regional playoff game at Mesa College.

With no timeouts and trailing by six points, St. Bonaventure was glad St. Augustine decided to punt rather than take a safety with 14 seconds left. The punt was shanked out of bounds and traveled 13 yards from the 17 to the 30. That’s where St. Bonaventure took over with 8.2 seconds left.

Quarterback Anthony Wolter completed a 26-yard pass to Drew Cofield for a first down at the four, briefly stopping the clock. Wolter rushed forward to take the snap and downed the ball with two seconds left.

St. Bonaventure coach Joe Goyeneche called for a trick play that the team had been practicing every Wednesday for four weeks. Wolter took the snap, passed the ball backward toward the right sideline to Max Peters, who connected with Kayin Booker in the end zone on the double pass for a touchdown with no time left to tie the score. The Seraphs then won it on the conversion kick by George Mann.

“What just happened?” one St. Bonaventure coach said.

“Oh my God,” another cried out during a postgame awards ceremony.

St. Bonaventure (11-3) overcame a 20-7 deficit in the fourth quarter to earn a state championship game appearance next weekend against Northern California power Folsom.

Booker is the son of former St. Bonaventure great Lorenzo Booker. He was wide open and just had to catch Peters’ pass.

“It’s crazy following in his footsteps,” Booker said of his dad.

St. Bonaventure’s offense had been sputtering all night until Koen Glover finally broke through for an eight-yard touchdown run with 4:17 left. The Seraphs elected not to go for an onside kick trailing 20-14, and St. Augustine suddenly was stuck at its own one-yard line trying to run out the clock. The Saints appeared to clinch victory when on third and long, Parker Johnson caught a 26-yard pass on the sideline for a first down with 1:52 left.

All St. Augustine had to do was run out the clock. It didn’t happen, and the Seraphs took advantage for a memorable comeback victory.

Wolter passed for 178 yards and Koen rushed for 94 yards in the win.

It was a rough first half for St. Bonaventure, which trailed at halftime 20-7. The Seraphs had lots of frustration, from an interception to losing the ball on a kickoff. There also was difficulty running down St. Augustine sophomore quarterback Brady Palmer, who used his running skills to keep plays alive.

St. Augustine scored on its opening possession, a 24-yard touchdown catch by Isaiah Hasten. St. Bonaventure marched down field on its first possession and tied it 7-7 on a 16-yard reception by Glover. St. Augustine went ahead 14-7 when freshman Honor Fa’alave-Johnson ran 15 yards for a touchdown. Then Palmer connected with Hasten on a five-yard score.

Then came a crazy fourth quarter, ending an even crazier weekend in San Diego for two Southern California teams.

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