Westchester High School held the Narbonne High School Gauchos scoreless for the better part of three quarters Friday, September 28th, but then visiting Narbonne managed to break free from the Comet grasp to take a 14-0 non-league victory.
Coming into the game off a low-scoring 6-4 victory over Washington High the week before, Westchester (2-2) struggled to capitalize offensively against the Gauchos (4-0), who remain undefeated.
The Comet defense kept Narbonne from entering the end zone for almost three entire quarters until Gaucho senior running back Eddie Mendivil capped a seven-minute, 40-second drive by running five yards for a touchdown with just 3.5 seconds remaining in the quarter.
The Gauchos halted a charge by the Comets at the start of the fourth quarter and added one more touchdown to seal the victory.
Comet running back Greg Dudley credited his team’s defense for stopping Narbonne as long as they could but admitted that Westchester wasn’t able to capitalize on offense.
“It was kind of hard for us to get into a rhythm,” Dudley said.
“The defense fought as hard as they could and did what they were supposed to do.”
After being forced to punt in their first drive of the night, the Comets responded with a big play on defense as Dudley intercepted a pass by Narbonne quarterback Josh Moten at the Comet 15-yard line and returned it to the Narbonne 33-yard line.
Westchester was unable to convert the play into a score after they were halted on fourth down and were forced to punt in their only two drives of the second quarter.
The Comet defense continued its pressure in the quarter, stopping Narbonne on fourth down in its first drive and then recovering a fumbled punt snap by the Gauchos in their next drive to keep the score 0-0 at halftime.
Chris Jacobs, who led the Westchester running game with 12 carries for 40 yards, gave the Comets good position on offense after returning a punt to the Narbonne 29-yard line early in the third quarter.
But the Comets faced more offensive trouble when a pass was intercepted by Narbonne senior Cecil Powell with eight minutes left in the third quarter.
It was then that the Gauchos managed to turn things around on offense, marching 80 yards for their first score of the night on a touchdown by Mendivil.
Just when it seemed that the Westchester defense would have to take the field again early in the fourth quarter, the offense got another opportunity.
A blocked punt was recovered by the Comets at their 37-yard line but they were unable to convert the play into a score.
Narbonne then jumped ahead 14-0 after a long 58-yard touchdown run by sophomore Melvin Davis, who led the Gauchos with 15 carries for 151 yards rushing, including 126 yards in the second half.
The Comets’ last chance on offense was thwarted when Narbonne recovered a fumble by Jacobs and closed out with the win.
While Westchester first-year coach Adrian Ivory acknowledged that his team needs to “move the ball a little better,” he is pleased with how the Comets are progressing this season.
“I think we’re gaining experience,” Ivory said. “We’re a young team and we’re getting better every week.”
As the Comets head into their last battle before Western League play begins, Dudley said they need to focus on staying competitive throughout the game.
“We need to stay strong for four quarters,” Dudley said. “We need to finish it off and capitalize on the big plays we get.”
Westchester will next host Valencia High School in a non-league game at 7 p.m. Friday, October 5th.