STORY & VIDEO BY MATT SIMON
With the season on the line, St. Anthony quarterback Lucas Lehmar threw for 241 yards, rushed for 95 yards and accounted for five touchdowns on Friday night at Clark Field.
It was a stellar performance for the senior, but it wasn’t enough as the Saints fell to Newport Harbor 35-32 in the opening round of the CIF Division 9 playoffs.
“We played our best,” Lehmar said. “One our best games of the season, every player on the roster put their part in contributing. It was unfortunate how it ended, we thought we had a chance to win the game at the end. It just didn’t fall in our favor.”
St. Anthony’s defense started the game fast as senior Tyus Poyer, who was making his debut, came up with a huge goal line interception to stop the Sailors opening drive.
The Saints defense forced three turnovers in the first quarter and Lehmar broke free for a 3-yard touchdown to give St. Anthony a 7-0 lead.
Lehmar connected with Riley Jenkins for a 24-yard touchdown to give the Saints a comfortable 13-0 with 6:47 left in the first quarter. Jenkins had five catches for 148 yards and three touchdowns.
Newport Harbor (8-3) relied on the legs of their junior running back Justin McCoy and he was a thorn for the Saints defense has he accounted for more than 200 yards.
After taking a 13-7 lead at halftime, Lehmar connected with Jenkins for a 64-yard touchdown to give the Saints a 19-7 lead.
From there the Sailors went on a 21-6 run to take a 28-25 lead with 7:38 left in the game.
Looking to keep their playoff run alive, St. Anthony turned to Poyer. After he left the game in the third quarter and was on the sideline with a sling, Poyer returned and made the biggest play of the night.
Lehmar lobbed a pass up for Poyer who tipped it to himself and strolled into the endzone for a 40-yard touchdown to give the Saints a 32-28 lead with 4:16 left in the game.
“I just wanted to come out here and give it all I got,” Poyer said. “I know this could be the last time I ever play football again, so I just wanted to come out here and give it all I got.”
On the following drive, Newport Harbor’s Nick Kim connected with Jake Kellikoa for a 16-yard game-winning touchdown.