Who needs an NFL team in Los Angeles when high school football can be as entertaining as Friday night's wild nonleague game between neighborhood rivals West Hills Chaminade and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame?
There were six lead changes in the second half and an individual effort by Notre Dame's Koa Farmer that will make many TV highlight shows.
When the final second ticked off the clock after a 37-yard field goal attempt by Notre Dame's Lucas Alfonso was ruled wide right by the officials, Chaminade had come away with an emotional 46-43 victory.
Donovan Lee, the Eagles' punishing senior running back, engaged Farmer in a memorable second-half duel, matching touchdown for touchdown. Lee scored five touchdowns on the night, four in the second half. He rushed for 195 of his 214 yards in the second half.
Farmer, committed to California as a defensive back, scored four touchdowns on runs from the quarterback position, including a 69-yard run to start the fourth quarter in which he hurdled over a startled Chaminade defensive back at his own 40-yard line. Yes, hurdling is illegal in high school football, but the officials must have been too stunned at what they saw to throw a flag.
"That was crazy," Lee said of Farmer's run.
"You're a freak," Chaminade Coach Ed Croson told Farmer afterward.
"Is it illegal?" Farmer asked. "I did jump over him."
After a 14-14 halftime tie, Chaminade took a 29-14 lead and seemed ready to pull away on touchdown runs by Lee. Back came the Knights, getting a Farmer touchdown, a safety on a bad punt snap and a 28-yard diving touchdown catch by Daniel Khan to take a 30-29 lead.
Farmer's eight-yard scoring run with 3:28 left gave Notre Dame a 43-39 advantage. But Chaminade quarterback Brad Kaaya marched the Eagles (4-1) down field, giving the ball to Lee again and again. Lee's one-yard touchdown run with 48 seconds left put the Eagles ahead for good.
"We knew it was going to be a dogfight," Lee said.
Kaaya, who was offered a scholarship by UCLA earlier in the week even though he's committed to Miami, struggled at times while dealing with an upper-body injury. He completed 16 of 29 for 212 yards. Dymond Lee, a sophomore and the brother of Donovan, caught seven passes for 102 yards and one touchdown. Chris Colarossi rushed for 122 yards in 26 carries for Notre Dame (3-2).
It was the final nonleague game of the regular season for both schools, which means experimenting and testing is about to end. League play begins next week, and the consequences of a single defeat from now on will be magnified.
Chaminade is in the Mission League, where Gardena Serra, La Canada St. Francis, Los Angeles Cathedral and Studio City Harvard-Westlake are all unbeaten. Notre Dame is in the tough Serra League.
Get ready for more excitement.
For the record: An earlier version of this report said Koa Farmer of Notre Dame hhurdled over a defender on a 68-yard yard touchdown run. It was a 69-yard run.