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Townsend Helps Normans Seal 42-35 Victory Against West Hills, They Face Palmdale Friday

By Lee Barnathan, Special To The Courier
In his career, Greg Townsend had many memorable moments, including an NFL Rookie of the Year award and Super Bowl victory.

But nothing he ever did in high school was as big as what his son did for Beverly Hills’ in Friday’s CIF-Southern Section Western Division playoff game.

The younger Townsend chased and sacked Chaminade quarterback Anthony Vitto on fourth down in double overtime that sealed Beverly Hills’ 42-35 victory, its first in the post-season in three years.

It improves Beverly Hills’ playoff record to 2-6 since 2001, and the Normans needed every big play to put away the Eagles of West Hills (2-9), who despite suffering through an eight-game losing streak earned the second playoff  berth from the Mission League.

Actually, Townsend’s big play was merely the last of many big plays the Normans (8-3) made in earning a second-round playoff game Friday at top-seeded Palmdale (10-1).

Going backwards from Townsend’s play:

• Quarterback Dex Lucci threw awkwardly from the left hash mark to the right side of the end zone and found Erik Munzer for an eight-yard score and a 42-35 lead in double overtime.

Lucci started 2-for-8 with an interception for two yards before completing 10 of his final 15 attempts for 166 yards and three touchdowns to Munzer, of 13, 52 and 8 yards.

Lucci completed all three of his overtime attempts for 37 yards. Coach Carter Paysinger credited Lucci’s turnaround to staying in the pocket longer and trusting his offensive linemen would pick up Chaminade’s blitzes.

• Running back Kenny Bassett running in from eight yards out, after Chaminade had gone ahead 35-28 on a Nick Grodotzke four-yard touchdown run, to force a second overtime.  

Bassett had rushed for 116 yards on 14 carries in the first half, but just 43 yards on 12 carries in the second half. He finished with 167 on 28 carries, giving him 1,408 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns this season (he also has one scoring catch).

• After blowing a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter, and with Chaminade driving for the go-ahead score, Munzer intercepted his second Vitto pass of the game at the Normans 10-yard line with 33.4 seconds to play.

Quite the big game for Munzer, who not only caught two Vitto passes but also hauled in six Lucci passes for 103 yards.

“I’ve been waiting to get the second round of the playoffs for a while,” Munzer said.

Vitto, who came in averaging 145.2 yards per game, completed 15 of 29 passes for 232 yards and four scores.

He  was also sacked four times, the final time by Townsend for a 15-yard loss. Yet he still finished as the Eagles’ top rusher with 56 yards on 11 carries.

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