Three others local teams beside Escondido High (featured in this week’s sports section) have postseason stories to tell so let’s delve into them.
Classical Academy – The Caimans evened their record at 5-5 with a season extending 13-7 Division V quarterfinal playoff win over Maranatha Christian last Friday night. Quarterback James Duncan’s 24-yard strike to receiver Thomas Gehman, who beat the Eagle secondary deep, was the key play in this clutch victory.
Now the Caimans will take on the ultimate challenge when they travel east to Calexico’s Ward Field this week to meet top-seeded Vincent Memorial (9-2). Classical owns a 3-2 record away from home while the Scots have won five of six on their home turf.
If the Caimans are to give themselves a realistic chance of upending a Vincent squad that has won five in a row, they must find a way to contain if not stop the Scots’ amazingly prolific quarterback Eduardo Valenzuela. Already this season, Valenzuela has amassed mind-blowing numbers, having thrown for 3,212 yards, rushed for 688 more and been a part of 48 touchdowns.
But Duncan is playing at a high level and with stellar back Jake Gilbert capable of exploding at any time, the Caimans figure to have at least a puncher’s chance of producing what would be a major surprise.
San Pasqual – After earning a bye because of their No. 3 seed, the Golden Eagles (6-4) will enter this week’s quarterfinal Division III matchup with Rancho Buena Vista (7-5) well rested and primed.
Ironically, these two teams met just three short weeks ago on the SP’s home field and that very same scenario will be revisited this Friday night. In that first encounter, the G. Eagles raced to a 34-0 lead at halftime lead in route to a convincing 48-6 triumph. But the Longhorns have won three in a row including a 62-43 romp over Santana and they possess a legitimate bell cow back in junior Dorian Richardson, who gained a hefty 150 yards against SP in the previous go-around.
However, the G. Eagles come into this game playing perhaps their best football of the season and armed with plenty of offensive weapons that can make their disciplined attack a real pain to deal with. QB Westin Erdman is throwing with confidence as well as picking up lots of yards with his feet. And SP has a three-headed running back combination in Saud Carillo, Shawn Carter and Brett Sayers that can chew up an abundance of real estate.
Plus, the defense anchored by a pair of topflight linebackers in Johnny Vega and Tim Hansen has the potential to be stingy.
It’s never an easy task to beat the same opponent twice in the same season but the prediction here is that Tony Corley’s group turns the trick and moves onto the semifinal round.
Calvin Christian – The Crusaders (10-1) had both their lengthy winning streak snapped and their splendid season come to an abrupt end with a somewhat stunning 26-21 playoff loss to an underrated Julian (8-2) team that has now captured seven straight games. This marks the second consecutive year that a No.1 seeded Calvin squad wasn’t able to run the table and capture a championship that many thought they were destined to win.
Against the Eagles, the Crusaders dug themselves a significant 26-7 hole but gamely rallied back with two fourth-quarter touchdowns only to come up just a bit short.
Eagle running back Osvaldo Martinez tormented CC with a bang-up effort, rushing for 199 yards and three scores. And a pair of interceptions were also instrumental in helping to undermine the Crusader cause.
But the senior contingent that now leaves Classical can be proud of the unparalleled success that it fashioned.These Crusaders helped to cop a title in 2015, finished runners-up last season and won 19 of the past 21 games in which they played. Having to say goodbye to productive performers like talented quarterback Matt Lafler, exciting back Daniel Esguerra, hardnosed Arthur Torres, versatile athletes Luke Bousema and Bryce Lovisa, stellar lineman Nico Brouwer and bona fide contributors Anthony Coseo and Leo Gonzalez will definitely not be easy!