For the second straight year, the Bloomington Christian High School football team has used a narrow victory to claim the CIF championship.
In 2018, the Ravens captured the Eight-Man title with a 26-24 win over Hesperia Christian.
And here in 2019, it was more of the same as Bloomington Christian pushed across a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to overcome Lancaster Baptist, 36-28, in the Eight-Man Division 2 final on Nov. 29.
"It's amazing, going back to back," said coach Steven Stott, right before rain started to fall. "The second one is just as good as the first one."
Quarterback Ethan Turner's 18-yard touchdown pass to Richard Zambrano with 1:01 left in the game broke a 28-28 tie.
Zambrano caught the short pass along the sideline and followed good blocking before diving over the goal line. Zambrano then ran in for the two-point conversion to give the Ravens an eight-point margin.
Lancaster Baptist still had a chance to come back, but Isiah Hernandez intercepted a pass, enabling the Ravens to celebrate the thrilling triumph on their home field.
Bloomington Christian extended its winning streak to nine games and raised its season record to 10-1. In the CIF semifinal round on Nov. 22, the Ravens were pushed to the limit by Sage Oak before holding on in a wild finish, 74-72.
Stott said the team's returning leaders helped the Ravens stay focused on repeating as champions.
"We had a lot of guys from last year who carried over that grit of winning and knowing how to win," he said.
Turner, one of the seniors, led the way in the back-and-forth struggle against Lancaster Baptist.
After the visitors took an early 6-0 lead, Turner completed a 41-yard touchdown pass to Jaydon Sims to tie the score at 6-6.
Then Zambrano blasted through the line for a 7-yard touchdown to put Bloomington Christian on top, 14-6.
Lancaster Baptist forged a tie, but Turner elevated the Ravens back in front, 22-14, with a 43-yard TD pass to Prezton Drake in the second quarter.
After halftime, Lancaster Baptist evened the score, 22-22, before Turner completed a 5-yard scoring strike to Roman Vigil, making it 28-22. However, the visitors came back with a TD to create yet another tie, setting up the exciting finish.