The Los Angeles Romans football team survived a late rally by the Morningside Monarchs to secure a 28-26 victory at Caroline Coleman Stadium in Inglewood.
The game went down to the wire with the Monarchs scoring in the final seconds of regulation. A successful two-point conversion would have sent the game into overtime, but the Romans denied the Monarchs a trip to the endzone in the crucial play.
“It was nerve-wracking, it’s the last play of the game, you got to go all out,” said Morningside quarterback Jaiden Dahl. “I gave it my all, we got the score, couldn’t finish off.”
Los Angeles senior Malike Simpson made two interceptions and two touchdowns in the matchup.
“Those touchdowns, that was all my team, I just did my part, they did they part and we got the win,” Simpson said. “I was doing the best that I can, do whatever I got to do to win.”
Both Los Angeles and Morningside have a 2-3 overall record. This puts Morningside in second place in the Ocean League; Los Angeles is currently first in the Southern League.
The Romans scored on their first possession; Simpson secured a 40-yard touchdown from quarterback Shawn Pringle on a fourth down. Morningside returned the favor when Dahl connected with J’yon Smith for a touchdown. At the end of the first quarter, the game was tied at six.
Los Angeles clinched their second touchdown of the night along with a successful two-point conversion early in the second quarter. Morningside was plagued with penalties and Dahl had to chase down the occasional high snap from his center.
The Monarchs did not score again until the third quarter when Anthony Lindsey secured a 14-yard touchdown passing play. Their defense continued the momentum when corner Brian Zavalza-Vasquez committed an 80-yard interception return for a touchdown, giving Morningside a 20-14 lead.
Los Angeles then started up on their own 40-yard line and Simpson made a 60-yard run to give the Romans a two-point advantage.
Morningside continued to fight despite the challenges they faced in the fourth quarter. Pringle scrambled for a six-yard touchdown and the Romans defense picked off the Monarchs twice in the phase. L.A. High senior Khamani Jones made the final pick.
“I didn’t really think that I had a good game,” Jones said. “Whenever I got that interception, it low-key boosted my self-esteem to keep my head in the game.”
A 40-yard pass to Lindsey put Morningside in the Los Angeles red zone with seconds left in regulation. Dahl scrambled from 20 yards out to score, closing the Monarchs’ deficit to two points. Their two-point conversion failed, giving the Romans their third win.
L.A. High will be battling View Park on September 30 at 4:00P.M. for their homecoming game at Belmont high school. Morningside will battle Beverly Hills at 7:00P.M. at El Camino College.