Compton football and Erick Barrios proved why they’re the No. 1 seed in the CIF Southern Section Division 12 playoffs as they defeated Tahquitz 52-35 in the semifinals on Friday night in Hemet.
The victory sends Compton to its first CIF Championship since 1979 as they host Quartz Hill at Compton College next week – a moment that the community has been waiting for.
Junior Erick Barrios dominated the Titans’ defense as he finished the game with 268 total yards, three rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns.
“This means a lot to all of us,” Barrios said. “Everybody that’s here putting their time and effort into our team. It means a lot to a lot of people in the city of Compton too. It was great for us to show everyone that we could get there.”
Tahquitz scored on the third play of the game’s opening drive as DJ Bryant scored on a 6-yard touchdown to give the Titans a 7-0 lead with 10:54 left in the first.
Compton then turned the ball over on a fumble and it looked like Tahquitz had all the momentum, but the Tarbabes defense forced a turnover on downs to put the offense back on the field.
The Tarbabes took the lead as Aava Lilomaiava found Erick Barrios for a wide-open 29-yard touchdown and Deon Johnson got in for a 2-point conversion to give Compton 8-7 lead.
The Titans answered right back as they went on a 58-yard drive that was capped by a 15-yard touchdown to take a 14-8 lead after the first quarter.
“They brought a lot to us,” Compton coach Calvin Bryant said of the Titans offense. “They kept us off balance the first few series and we had to figure things out. Our guys were really resilient tonight.”
Compton figured things out as they went on a 24-6 run as Barrios scored two touchdowns as the Compton defense locked in and blocked a punt.
The first half ended with a Barrios interception as the Titans were in Compton territory.
Compton started the second half with another Lilomaiava to Barrios touchdown to take a 32-20 lead.
After another Titan touchdown cut the Compton lead to 32-28, Barrios broke free for a 60-yard touchdown – his fifth of the night – that gave the Tarbabes a 38-28 lead.
“The O-line did a great job opening holes for the running backs to run through,” Barrios said. “We just played hard and came out on top.”
Compton put the game away after the Titans fumbled the ball and Lilomaiva scored on a 1-yard keeper to give Compton a 46-28 lead early in the fourth quarter.
With their victory, Compton will host the championship game next week and it will be the first CIF Championship football game in Compton since the Tarbabes defeated Arcadia 21-14 in the Coastal Conference title game in 1978.
“We really look forward to playing in the championship,” Bryant said. “We just want to make sure we go out and put a good performance on.”