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Late turnovers doom Mayfair football in semifinal loss to Golden Valley

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BELLFLOWER — After erasing an early deficit, Mayfair’s turnovers in the fourth quarter resulted in 14 consecutive points for Golden Valley, which defeated the Monsoons, 33-28, in a CIF Southern Section Division 7 semifinal on Friday night at Ron Yary Stadium.

It was a difficult loss for Mayfair (8-5), which had a 21-20 lead entering the fourth quarter before the Grizzlies took advantage of two untimely turnovers.

First, Mayfair quarterback Evan Tomich had a pass intercepted by Donteo James-Williams, and Golden Valley followed the turnover with a 35-yard touchdown pass to Ajani Smith to take a 26-21 lead after a failed two-point conversion attempt with 6:06 left.

A short time later, when Mayfair tried to punt on fourth down, a bad snap resulted in a fumble (for the second time in the game) and Golden Valley recovered the ball at Mayfair’s 17-yard line. Once again, the Grizzlies cashed in the turnover as Smith scored on a 4-yard touchdown run that extended the margin to 33-21 with 2:20 left.

Mayfair QB @EvanTomich talks about the tough loss but also about what this team and coach @derekbedell17 means to him @BeachVarsity @presstelegram

— Chris Camello (@Chris_Camello) November 19, 2022

Mayfair coach Derek Bedell spoke about whether those mistakes cost his team the game, but also how proud he was of them for making it this far.

“I think the special teams mistakes hurt us, but they made one more play than we did tonight, and that’s really what it comes down to,” Bedell said. “I’m really proud of our football team, I’m proud of every single one of those kids. They busted their butts over the past year to get into the position we were in tonight. We just came up a little short.”

Mayfair’s fight and determination was evident as it refused to go quietly. Tomich put together a strong drive that ended with his 38-yard touchdown pass to receiver Max Mitchell. That score cut the deficit to five points, but there were only 50 seconds left.

The Monsoons tried an onside kick but couldn’t recover it, and the Grizzlies were able to hold on for an impressive road win. Golden Valley will face Laguna Hills next weekend in the Division 7 title game.

For Mayfair, the end of the season also means the end of a special era with Tomich as its quarterback and leader.

“We got in the red zone at the end of the game, we kind of just shot ourselves in the foot and it kind of lost the game for us,” said Tomich, who finished 10-of-17 for 210 yards with three touchdown passes and the interception. “We fight all the way through; that’s the motto of Mayfair football right there.”

The senior went on to speak about Coach Bedell and the special connection the two have shared these past four years.

Mayfair coach Derek Bedell talks about the tough loss but how proud he is of his team and QB @EvanTomich @SoonsFootball @BeachVarsity @presstelegram

— Chris Camello (@Chris_Camello) November 19, 2022

“Ever since Day 1 when I was in the eighth grade and I came to talk to him for the first time, he convinced me to come out and practice with him, and I really liked that, I liked the school,” said Tomich, who added 65 rushing yards on 10 carries. “He’s been a really big help all four years and I love him.”

Bedell echoed similar sentiments about his quarterback.

“It’s been a special four years,” Bedell said. “I remember the days when he and I would be in my garage watching film during COVID. It’s been a special four years for me. I’m proud of him, I’m proud of everything he’s done and he’s got a great future ahead of him.”

Tomich was sacked four times by an aggressive Grizzlies defense.

Mayfair running back Ryan Heredia finished with 23 rushing yards with a touchdown and receiver Jaiden Tanner had four catches for 87 yards, including a brilliant 66-yard touchdown reception. Jordan Faatolo also had 48 receiving yards and a touchdown.

The Monsoons trailed 14-0 early in the game after Golden Valley quarterback Christopher Melkonian ran for a pair of 1-yard touchdowns in the first half. However, the Monsoons found some offensive rhythm late in the second quarter and showed the fight that Bedell spoke about, scoring 14 unanswered points to tie it in the final minutes of the second quarter.

Mayfair took the lead at 21-14 in the third after Heredia’s touchdown, but Golden Valley answered back with William Hake’s 13-yard touchdown run. After a Monsoons penalty on the PAT, the Grizzlies opted to attempt a two-point conversion and running back Julian Rios fumbled at the goal line, which allowed Mayfair to maintain a 21-20 lead heading into the fourth.

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