Game Date: October 21, 2022 7:00PM PST | Photography by: Sandrine Scherson
The University High School Trojans scored two touchdowns in 58 seconds late in the fourth quarter for a ridiculously exciting and improbable Senior Night home victory Fri night.
After Senior Night pre-game introductions and a scoreless first quarter, the Beckman Patriots scored two touchdowns in the last minute of the first half. In the first half Beckman was able to run the ball well and scored on a one-yard plunge with a minute left in the half. Uni failed to collect the ensuing kickoff and Beckman covered the ball on the UHS 21. Five plays and 28 seconds later the Patriots scored on another one-yard run and Beckman went into halftime with a 14-0 lead.
Halfway through the third quarter, Beckman placekicker Mateo Barrot’s 37-yard FG attempt was wide left giving Uni a lifeline. The Trojans proceeded to go on a 10-play, six-minute, 80-yard scoring drive on a mix of Soph QB Zach Malek passes, and Jr RB Jai Williams runs. The drive culminated in a 3rd down, 16-yard scoring strike from Jr QB Koa Saito to Jr WR Brooks Beckmann (that’s Beckmann with two Ns).
At the end of the third quarter, Jai Williams’ name was drawn as the winner of the prestigious Groove E-Bikes Groove E-Ride Ripper e-bike raffle. Literally seconds later on the next play, Jai forced a fumble recovered by Sr LB Chris Rue. You can’t make this stuff up, but there’s more.
Uni’s next drive stalled from the improved Uni defense. After turning the ball over on downs in Beckman territory, Saito proceeded to strip a Patriot receiver returning the ball 40 yards to the Beckman two-yard line.
The Trojans could not get the ball into the end zone, but after turning the ball over on downs forced Beckman to punt from their own five-yard line. After a short punt, Uni took over on the Beckman 30. Seven plays later Malek found Brooks Beckmann on a fourth down, 7-yard TD pass with 1:07 left in the game.
After a short kick, Beckman was able to move the ball to the Uni 25-yard line. On third and five and the clock running as both teams were out of timeouts, Williams intercepted a pass, evaded a few tacklers and took the ball an estimated 71 yards down the left sideline to the house with only nine seconds left in the fourth quarter giving Uni a 21-14 lead and the beyond exciting victory. The score was Jai’s 8th touchdown on the season.
Beckman High School won the statistical game with 243 yards (188 running and 55 passing) to Uni’s 168 yards (27 ground and 141 air). The Patriots had 13 first downs to Uni’s 9. The difference in the game was turnovers. Uni forced three, while Beckman had none, but did recover the unintentional onside kick.
Williams had 8 carries for 23 yards to lead Uni in rushing. Saito and Malek each completed half a dozen passes throwing for 75 and 66 yards, respectively. Saito now has over 1,500 yards passing on the season to go along with 15 TD passes while only throwing three picks.
Eight Uni receivers caught passes. Brooks Beckmann had three for 39 yards; Jr WR Blaine Anderson had a pair for 34 yards to go along with a 22-yard punt return. Saito caught two for seven yards. Jr TE Andrew Bogard, Sr RB Pax Lang, Sr RB Chris Rue, Jr TE Zephyr Reynolds and Soph WR Damari Carter each had a catch.
The kicking game was in good order. Jr Skye Murphy converted three PATs. Sr Connor Ghaznavi booted two deep kickoffs and punter Andrew Bogard averaged 41 yards on two punts putting one on the Beckman 15-yard line.
Honored seniors played a big part in the victory. Rue had 11 tackles and a pass break up. LB Pax Lang had another seven while DT Tomas Arango had six and a tackle for loss. Classmates DB Nikko Ray and DE Chris Conner each had three tackles. Sr OL Jack Cameron is the fifth in his family to play at Uni. Sr DE Devin Fowler was unable to play due to injury.
A trio of Juniors also contributed on defense. Not surprisingly, Jai “Orange Shoes” Williams was a beast at linebacker with nine tackles including one for loss. DB Beckmann had a half a dozen tackles. Big Richard Bines had five more including one for loss. Saito had an unusual combination of six pass completions, four offensive rushes and two receptions on offense combined with four tackles including a sack and the fumble recovery on defense.
This win was apparently Uni’s first league win in four seasons and in doing so the Trojans improved to 3-6 overall and 1-1 in league. Beckman HS fell to 2-7 and 0-2. Uni plays Woodridge at Uni Fri, Oct-28, technically a Trojan road game, with a CIF playoff spot on the line.