LOS ANGELES — Back following two seasons away from football, Kareem Ismail became the biggest target on the field when it mattered most for the Flintridge Prep football team.
The 6-foot-7 Ismail, who last played during his freshman season before seeing his career put on hold because of injuries, made the two biggest catches of the season for himself and the Rebels.
Ismail's biggest reception came when he hauled in a 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Clayton Weirick in the first overtime to give visiting Flintridge Prep a 34-28 upset win against Ribet Academy on Friday night in a CIF Southern Section Northeast Division first-round contest.
Flintridge Prep improved to 6-4 and won its first postseason contest since 2003, when it captured a CIF Southern Section Division XIII championship. Flintridge Prep will meet top-seeded Mission Prep, which opened with a 41-8 win against visiting Frazier Mountain, in a second-round home game Friday at a site to be determined.
“I saw the safety move to the right and the seam was my route,” said Ismail, who also made a huge catch in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter to help the Rebels knot it at 28. “It's good to be back.”
Ribet (9-2) appeared on the verge of advancing when it scored with 1:05 left in the fourth quarter when running back Andrew Morales converted a 12-yard run to give the Frogs, who won the Arrowhead League crown, a 28-22 lead. The Frogs failed to score on the two-point conversion.
Flintridge Prep, which took second in the Prep League and took part in its first playoff game since 2008, battled back. Weirick tossed a 24-yard pass to Ismail, who caught the ball and held on to it while sliding down to the 1-yard line with 21 seconds left in the fourth quarter. After a couple of plays, running back Stefan Smith scored on a two-yard run to tie it up.
“We know Kareem is a great athlete,” said Flintridge Prep Coach Antonio Harrison, who got 100 yards rushing in 11 carries from running back Kurt Kozacik. “He wanted to be a wide receiver this year and I told him he's got it.
“He made the big plays when he needed to. Our guys played hard.”
Ribet had the first possession of overtime and couldn't convert. The Frogs had a 32-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Ricky Cors called back because of an illegal man down field. On fourth down, Smith registered an interception.
After the Frogs took a 6-0 lead on a 70-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Alexander Camacho to wide receiver Nick Park on fourth down with 10:58 remaining in the first quarter, the Rebels took an 8-6 lead with 2:31 left in the first quarter on a 21-yard run by Kyle Hamane and a successful two-point conversion run by Dylan Colliflower.
The Rebels made it 16-6 on a two-yard run by Smith and another two-point conversion run by Colliflower with 7:46 left in the second quarter.
Ribet closed to within 16-14 when Park caught a 13-yard pass from Camacho with 4:46 remaining in the first half. Andrew Morales scored on the two-point conversion.
Smith, who rushed for 189 yards in 25 carries, gave the Rebels a 28-22 lead on an 18-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Weirick completed six of nine passes for 35 yards.
Camacho completed 16 of 34 passes for 220 yards for the Frogs, who scored at least 30 points in a game six times and at least 50 points twice this season.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun