Pasadena, CA – December 9, 2023 – In a thrilling contest filled with momentum swings and stellar performances, the Mission Oak Hawks (12-2) soared to victory over the Palma Chieftains (13-1) in the CIF Division 4-A State Championship Bowl Game, played at Pasadena City College. The final score of 31-28 marked the culmination of a hard-fought battle between two talented teams, leaving the crowd in awe of the players’ determination and skill.
Game: Palma vs Mission Oak
Date: Decembers 9, 2023
Time: In Progress
Streaming: Watch Live Here
Mission Oak struck first, capitalizing on a fumble deep in Palma territory early in the first quarter. Senior running back Anthony Rodriguez, known for his elusive running style, broke free for a 15-yard touchdown run, putting the Hawks up 7-0. The Chiefs responded quickly, orchestrating a methodical drive capped by a 3-yard touchdown plunge from junior quarterback Luke Davis, tying the score at 7-7.
The second quarter saw both teams trade blows, showcasing their offensive firepower. Palma’s passing attack, led by Davis’s accurate throws and junior receiver Mark Garcia’s acrobatic catches, kept the Chiefs within striking distance. However, Mission Oak’s athletic defense, anchored by senior tackle Michael Sanchez and junior linebacker Jacob Miller, made crucial stops when needed.
The halftime score stood at a tightly contested 14-14, with neither team able to establish a clear advantage. The third quarter proved to be a turning point in the game. Mission Oak, fueled by the energy of their passionate fan base, unleashed a dominant defensive performance, forcing two interceptions and limiting Palma’s offensive production.
Taking advantage of the momentum shift, the Hawks’ offense responded with two touchdowns of their own. Senior running back Daniel Garcia broke free for a 45-yard touchdown run, followed by a 2-yard touchdown plunge from Rodriguez, extending Mission Oak’s lead to 28-14.
Facing a two-score deficit in the fourth quarter, Palma refused to surrender. Davis, displaying exceptional leadership, orchestrated a comeback attempt, connecting with Garcia for a 40-yard touchdown pass. The Chiefs’ defense also intensified their efforts, forcing a crucial turnover that gave them a chance to tie the game.
With the score 28-21 and seconds remaining on the clock, Palma faced a fourth-and-goal situation from the 3-yard line. The tension in the stadium was palpable as Davis dropped back to pass. However, Mission Oak’s defense, rising to the occasion once again, intercepted the pass, sealing their victory and securing the CIF State Championship title.
This victory represents Mission Oak’s first CIF State Championship title in program history. The Hawks’ gritty performance and unwavering determination throughout the season culminated in this historic achievement. The championship win is a source of immense pride for the entire Mission Oak community and serves as an inspiration to future generations of athletes.
For Palma, the loss stings, but it does not diminish their remarkable season. The Chieftains demonstrated exceptional talent and sportsmanship throughout the year, leaving a lasting impression on fans and opponents alike. They will undoubtedly return to the championship stage in the future with the same dedication and determination that characterized their 2023 campaign.
Overall, the 2023 CIF Division 4-A State Championship Bowl Game was a thrilling spectacle that showcased the best of high school football in California. Both Mission Oak and Palma displayed exceptional athleticism, tactical prowess, and unwavering sportsmanship. The Hawks’ victory will be etched in the annals of Mission Oak High School history, while Palma’s remarkable journey to the championship game serves as a testament to their talent and resilience.