WESTMINSTER — Legacy’s fate dimmed with a series of early gaffes and miscues Thursday.
A pick-six the wrong way, two punts gone wayward, the hole the Lightning helped dig themselves was sinking under their feet. Too deep to ascend.
Three first-half turnovers led to a touchdown, safety and field goal, and Pomona used a strong running attack the rest of the way to hold off Legacy, 26-20, at Adams 12 North Stadium, sending the area school to 1-3 on the season.
It was the Lightning’s fifth straight loss to Pomona dating back to 2010. And it came in spite of a late rally made possible by a series of defensive stops.
Leading the way was stud running back Braelon Tate, who rushed for a season-high 177 yards and two second-half scores.
Signs of life down 26-6 late in the third quarter, Tate flew through the middle of the line on fourth-and-1 and sped to a 34-yard score.
Legacy’s next two drives stalled inside Pomona territory before Tate added a 3-yard TD to cut the deficit to 26-20 with 4:04 remaining.
Not enough. The Panthers closed on their next possession, needing eight plays, picking up two first downs, to drain the rest of the clock.
For Tate, it was his sixth career game over the century rushing mark. He came around five yards shy of setting his career high in rushing yards in a game.
Pomona (2-2), with a monster run attack of its own, had been led by a one-two combo of Marcus Talbert and Deion Maes. The pairing led a rush performance that amassed more than 250 yards. They traded off big runs to help propel a strong start.
Scoring a pair of touchdowns 1:18 apart in the first quarter, the Panthers rolled out to a 14-0 lead.
The first came on the back end of a four-play drive, fueled by an opening carry of 55 yards by Talbert, and later capped by an eight-yard scamper by Maes.
Three plays into the Lightning’s second drive, the Panthers added a second as linebacker Junior Gonzales picked off Legacy and went untouched 30 yards into the end zone with 4:21 left in the quarter.
In the half, Pomona also got safety on a muffed punt and was set up with a short field goal thanks to another special teams’ mishap before the break. Legacy had a touchdown pass from Jadon Carter to Kullen Lerma.
The Lightning will look to rebound next week on the road against the Far Northeast Warriors. The Denver school beat Boulder in the Class 5A spring championship game.