Football: La Jolla High Vikings 63, Mater Dei Catholic High School Crusaders 21 — La Jolla High trounces Mater Dei to win CIF playoff game
By Ed Piper
La Jolla feasted on visiting Mater Dei, 63-21, to win its CIF Division IV quarterfinal football game Nov. 22. The Vikings gained the right to travel to Monte Vista on Friday, Nov. 29 to play the top-seeded Monarchs in the semifinals. The Vikings’ previous home playoff game was a 38-32 win over Palo Verde on Nov. 20, 2009.
Viking middle linebacker Anthony Stanley preferred the image of a boa constrictor tightening its grip, as La Jolla equaled its highest point total in a game this season and enjoyed the second largest winning margin — 42 points. Vikings defenders mauled Crusader quarterback Marco Morales, sacking him seven times, including four by noseguard Justin Cook, just named to the All-Western League First Team for his sparkling performance this season.
But in early going, it wasn’t clear what the outcome would be. Visiting Mater Dei (4-8), though not taking the field to warm up until an unusually late 35 minutes before kickoff, scored in the first 31 seconds on a 71-yard passing strike from Morales to Evan Davis. La Jolla (now 5-6) committed multiple penalties, came up short on fourth-and-three on a Carlton O’Neal run on a fake punt on its first possession, and had an interception on its second. The Vikings then failed to complete a pass off of another fake punt on its fifth possession, subsequently trailing 14-7 after an Iman Chatman-Dixon reception with 9:19 left in the second quarter.
But Stanley sacked Morales on third-and-12 from the 17, forcing Mater Dei to try a 43-yard field goal, which fell short. Then the Vikings put in 28 points on a blizzard of scoring through the first 3:13 of the third quarter, to lead 35-14 and never be threatened again. Stanley described his sack: “I read what they were doing. They were blocking the other guy. I blitzed.”
Eric Tims exhibited moves he hasn’t even shown before, racking up a whopping 236 yards rushing on 24 carries. He tallied three touchdowns. Asked humorously if he was drinking something different, Tims responded in complete seriousness, “Power shakes. This is the first time I’ve drunk a power shake on the day of a game. I don’t feel tired or empty.”
Quarterback Collin Rugg employed previously unseen agility in shedding a tackler and scampering for a nine-yard pick-up on second-and-ten beginning the third quarter, before Reid Martin took the ball the remaining three yards on the following play to go up 35-14. When asked if an alien had taken over his body, Rugg flashed a smile: “I’m not sure if it was me (doing the running),” he said incredulously after the game, “I ended the game with positive rushing yardage. (Amazing.)”
The other running demon was junior back Reid Martin. He tore up 105 yards on 16 carries, scoring another three touchdowns. “It was nice to get some big runs in the first quarter and wear them out. Then we could relax later (with the big lead0,” Martin said.
Nic Skala, playing both ways, grabbed a Collin Rugg pass for a 5-yard touchdown play with 27 seconds left in the first half, and made a nifty interception off Morales and ran it back 50 yards in the third quarter. Skala was asked which was more fun: “Defense. I read the quarterback. It was real obvious. He doesn’t look his receivers off.”
Besides new red jerseys the coaches surprised the players with when they went back into the locker room for a pep talk just before the game, La Jolla also hosted the SDSU dancers for the first half and exhibited a new “LJ” in big letters emblazoned at midfield for this historic home playoff game.
STATS: Offense – Passing: Rugg 16-30, 89 yards, 2 TD’s, 1 interception. Rushing: E. Tims 24-236 yards, Martin 16-105 yards, Alex Dockery 3-31 yards. Receiving: Carlton O’Neal 7-36 yards; Carter Simington 3-21 yards; Skala 2-12 yards, 1 TD; Martin 2-12 yards; Mark Rawdin 1-6 yards, 1 TD. Defense – Tackles/assists: Bret Schuman 6-1, Jonathan Levenson 3-1, E. Tims 3-0, Anthony Stanley 2-2, Grant Miller 2-2, Cook 2-1, Da’Jour Tims 2-0, Skala 2-0, Connor Walton 2-0, Connor Hayden 2-0, Ian Beed 1-1, Tyler Smith 1-0, Ronnell Green 1-0, Vail Miesfeld 1-0, Trenton Fudge 1-0. Sacks: Cook 4, Levenson 2, Schuman 1, Stanley 1. Interceptions: Skala 1.
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