Kai Ross led Huntington Beach High to the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division championship.

Kai Ross led Huntington Beach High to the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division championship. (KEVIN CHANG / HB Independent / December 8, 2013)

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ANAHEIM — They have been playing football at Huntington Beach High for nearly a century.

From here on out, the 2013 Oilers will go down in school history as the first to win a major CIF Southern Section football championship.

Huntington completed its Phoenix-like rise Saturday in the Southwest Division title game at Angel Stadium by scoring three touchdowns in a span of less than one minute late in the second half, to stun Newport Harbor, 42-28, in an all-Sunset League final.

The scoring spree, which included a long touchdown pass followed by two interception returns for touchdowns by senior Kai Ross, broke a 21-all tie and sent the Oilers on to Southwest supremacy.

The Oilers had trailed, 21-14, with 2:31 to play in the third quarter.

"I thought the long touchdown pass, and then the two long touchdowns by Kai [Ross], were unbelievable," said Huntington's Eric Lo, who won his first section football title as a head coach.

"We started off a little slow," he said. "Maybe it was the stage here (pointing to the field at Angel Stadium), but I thought we didn't find our groove right away. Newport played a tough, physical game but we took over in the fourth quarter. Hats off to them and Coach [Jeff] Brinkley. They played a great game."

The Oilers, once a 4-5 team late in the season, won their final five games to claim the title. It wasn't easy against a Newport Harbor team that came in riding a three-game win streak and was seeking its fourth section title under Brinkley.

The Sailors (8-6) held a 21-14 lead after junior quarterback Cole Norris found a wide open Keaton Cablay in the back of the end zone on a nine-yard touchdown pass with 2:31 left in the third quarter. The lead didn't last long, as Huntington responded with an 81-yard scoring drive that took only five plays and just over two minutes.

Senior receiver Maurice Barber took in a short screen play from Ross at the Huntington 21-yard line and sped up the middle of the field for a huge, 64-yard gain before being dragged down by strong safety Skyler Pavloff at the Newport 17. Three plays later from the 12, sophomore running back Hunter Simmons took a screen from Ross on the right side and fought his way to the end zone. Junior Maliek Miller's conversion with 11 seconds to go in the quarter knotted the score.

After holding Newport on its next possession, Huntington got the ball back at its own 7 with 9:22 remaining in the game. On third-and-three from the 14, Simmons broke free for a 31-yard gain to put the ball at the 45. The Oilers faced third-and-two from the Newport 47 when the drive took a hit, a procedure call against the Oilers.

It was then, that craziness ensued and from that moment on, it was a fast and quick blitz by Huntington.

It was led by Ross who took over the game.

On third-and-seven from the Huntington 48, Ross hit junior receiver Nolan Thompson. Thompson went high and after making the catch inside the Newport 40, bumped into defensive back Garrett Hall who was covering on the play. Thompson came down on his feet, Hall went down on the soggy turf, and Thompson turned the pass into a 52-yard touchdown play.

Miller's kick put Huntington in front, 28-21, with 6:26 to go.

"It was a fake screen and I knew the ball was coming my way, and I just had to make that catch," Thompson said. "I knew I would I would get hit as soon as I caught it. I managed to keep my feet and just took off for the end zone."

Two plays after Thompson's score, Norris lofted a pass toward intended receiver Cory Stowell but Ross was there at the Newport 36 to make the interception. He eluded a tackle near the 30, cut his was way to the 20 where he eluded another defender, cut again, this time across the field, and finished his return for a stunning touchdown.

It was the first interception return for a touchdown this year for Ross, who came into the game with five interceptions. He said he had one return for a touchdown called back by penalty earlier this year.

It was his second career return for a score, his first coming during his junior year. It gave Huntington a 35-21 lead, but it wouldn't be his last.

"We needed a spark, and I was there to make the interception," Ross said. "The ball floated up there and I caught it. After that, I don't remember anything, or getting to the end zone. It was crazy."