Since the CIF-Los Angeles City Section was formed in 1934, no L.A. City Section team won any California State football championship until last Saturday in the CIF-State Division IA championship at Sacramento State University. However, there were no state football championships from 1928-2005.
Narbonne finally became the first L.A. City Section team to win a state title after it defeated Clayton Valley Charter from Concord 28-14. The Gauchos were also the first L.A. City School to win a state title since 1917 when Manual Arts won the title over Bakersfield. That was when all of the L.A. City schools were playing in the Southern Section and at that time, Narbonne was a new high school called Lomita High and was located on the site on what is now called Fleming Middle School. Narbonne moved its campus to its current Harbor City site along Western Avenue in 1956.
The Gauchos, who finished their banner season at 14-2, started fast. They had a 47-yard pass from quarterback Roman Ale to wide receiver Devaughn Cooper to give Narbonne a first down and goal at the Clayton Valley 2-yard line. That is where running back Sean Riley scored to give the Gauchos a 7-0 lead with just 1:18 into the game.
Clayton Valley, which uses an effective running game, came back to tie the game at seven when quarterback Jake Peralta scored on a 2-yard run with 3:39 left in the first quarter. The game remained tied until Narbonne took the lead for good when Ale scored on a 1-yard keeper. The score was set up by a 47-yard run from Tre Walker.
The Gauchos also scored on their first possession of the second half. That was a 27-yard TD run from Riley, his second of the game, to give Narbonne a 21-7 lead and that proved to be the eventual winning score.
The Ugly Eagles, though, stayed in the game as standout running back Ray Jackson sprinted 75 yards for a touchdown. Narbonne upped its lead back to two possessions at 28-14 when junior running back Cameron Denmark spurted 43 yards for a touchdown.
There was no scoring in the fourth period as both defenses took over. The Gauchos did an effective job at holding down Clayton Valley’s strong running game. The Ugly Eagles, who ended their season at 14-1 after winning the CIF-North Coast Section Division II title before defeating Oak Grove for the Northern California Division IA crown 21-3 on Dec. 12, rushed for 258 yards in the game but just 61 in the second half.
Narbonne finished with 286 total offensive yards, including 169 rushing, using its effective offensive line, led by UCLA-bound Alex Akingbulu. Riley, who is bound for University of Arizona, ran for 98 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.
“We worked on a couple of plays,” Narbonne head coach Manuel Douglas said. “We knew they would be tough. We made a couple of defensive adjustments. I feel that new have one of the best offensive lines in Southern California.”
Leading Clayton Valley was Jackson who rushed for 139 yards and one TD, while Peralta ran for 123 yards and one score.