Calvin Christian 51 –Borrego Springs 0 – The Crusaders shake off a sluggish start in this Division VI semifinal matchup to hammer the Rams for a second time this season. With the win, CC wins its ninth straight, remains unbeaten and is now just one win removed from back-to-back CIF championships. The Crusaders blow this game open with massive second and third quarters in which they score a combined 51 points. Calvin’s diversified and multi-faceted offense is plainly in evidence. QB Matt Lafler continues his recent aerial assault with four scoring pitches and he also finds the end zone on a nifty 12-yard run. Talented receiver Jordan Thomsen has an impactful night with a pair of TD receptions and a two-point conversion catch. Running back Wes Salzman maintains his high level of productivity with long-distance strikes of 60 and 43 yards, the first of which comes on a dramatic run while the latter is the result of a nice collaboration with Lafler. The other two TDs come courtesy of a 47-yard Luke Bousma grab and a short dash by the shifty Daniel Esguerra. The Crusaders will now take on Foothills Christian (10-1) this coming Friday night at Mission Bay High School for all the marbles. The Knights are on a nine-game winning streak of their own so something’s got to give. CC defeated FC earlier this year in a very competitive game and this rematch suggests another tight contest could be in the offing. But with history beckoning, an offense that’s on fire and an underrated defense capable of rising to the occasion, the Crusaders give every indication that they’re primed to capture consecutive titles.
Classical Academy 41- Holtville 6 – In a repeat of an earlier regular-season contest, the Caimans (7-4) get the best of the Vikings in this quarterfinal Division V matchup. Befitting a No. 1 seed, Classical emphatically takes care of business and proves to be one tough host. The Caimans pound the Vikings into submission with an overwhelming ground game that is spearheaded by a spectacular performance by senior running back Ty Patterson. Displaying power, shiftiness and purpose, Patterson is a virtually unstoppable, rushing for an astounding 296 yards and scoring four times on runs ranging from 1 to 50 yards. The defense also plays its part, coming up with three picks, two tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. Middle linebacker Trevor Crist has a big night and is clearly the defensive stopper with 11 solo tackles. Now, it’s onto the semifinal round where the Caimans will next take on the No. 4 seed Horizon Christian (6-6) this Friday evening. With its winning streak having reached five, Classical is undoubtedly a team with a huge head of steam. If the Caimans can continue their recent dominance on the ground, then book them a place in next week’s finals.
University City 49 – Orange Glen 35 – The OG season comes to an end with a first-round loss in a Division IV contest. After falling behind 13-0, the visiting Patriots (4-7) gallantly surge back and take a 20-19 advantage in the second quarter. But then, the Centurions (6-5) answer with a pair of touchdowns and a brace of two-point conversions to lead at halftime 35-20. Later in the fourth stanza, quarterback Blaine Bailey and clutch receiver Brandon Montes connect on a 13-yard TD strike that helps get the Pats to within 42-35 but no more OG points are forthcoming.
UC’s Casey Granfors proves to be a nemesis for the Pats all night, firing three touchdown passes and denting the end zone twice more on 15 and 20- yard scampers. Marcel Patterson and Jayden Wickware also hit paydirt with scoring runs for the hosts.
Bailey concludes a stellar senior season with a pair of payoff pitches which gives him a monster total of 38 on the year. One of these scores goes to the incomparable and elusive wideout Malachi Russell (24 TD receptions) and results in a 90-yard hookup. Bailey also tallies on a short run. The other OG scores come on a splendid 42-yard interception return by middle linebacker Edgar Aceves and a 5-yard plunge by running back Jacob Guzman.
It was a season of offensive fireworks and admirable comebacks that sometimes just came up a bit short for the Pats. But all things considered, this was an exciting year upon which the Pats can build for the future.
Granite Hills 30 – San Pasqual 14 – Eagles of a different feather butt heads for the second time this season. In a first-round Division II matchup that pits the No. 5 and 12 seeds, the hosts get it done and prevail again. Wide receiver Mashal Wasimi is a difference-maker for the victors, hauling in touchdown receptions of 68 and 81 yards. Granite Hills (7-4) jumps out to a 16-0 halftime lead and is never headed. San Pasqual (6-5) shows resilience and closes to within 23-14 early in the fourth quarter but can get no nearer. In the season-opening 14-12 loss to GH, the Golden Eagles committed a devastating six turnovers. And on this occasion they are once more undermined by relinquishing the pigskin four more times, two on interceptions and twice on fumble recoveries by Matt Faubel. Dangerous GH quarterback Jake Siegfried has a productive night with a pair of TD tosses and a 1-yard scoring run. Sam Allistar is also a factor for the winners as he takes a wraparound draw and hightails it 58 yards to paydirt. For the San Pasqual, the offensive star is clearly running back Sam Serrato who shows his versatility with a 48-yard kickoff return, a 23-yard scoring catch and a magnificent 56-yard TD jaunt. Though he does manage to throw for a score, Golden Eagle signal-caller Westin Erdman is harassed by a quick GH defense that sacks him six times and forces him into a couple of picks. And so a solid and meaningful season comes to a close for San Pasqual. The Golden Eagles of Coach Tony Corley will be left to wonder how different their fate might have been if they’d taken better care of the ball in both their encounters with Granite Hills.