Viking Collin Rugg set a new CIF San Diego Section record with 45 touchdown passes in a season, and La Jolla thoroughly demolished Santa Fe Christian, 54-17, in the first round of the Division III playoffs Nov. 14.
The 6-foot-3 senior quarterback tossed six TD aerials to his usual suspects, three to Trenton Fudge, two to Carlton O’Neal, with another to Brandon Bonham, as the Vikings built up an insurmountable 35-0 halftime lead and sailed to a smashing victory in what was expected to be an even match-up between two 5-5 teams.
In fact, Santa Fe Christian, who hosted the game at Torrey Pines High School, came in as the seventh seed, while La Jolla was seeded tenth. The Vikings turned that seeding on its head, and by a large margin.
Meanwhile, on the defensive side, coordinator Mike Dutra’s unit bottled up the Eagles’ Benton Weeks, a 900-yard rusher, who carried early and often but was never able to make a dent big enough in the Viking defensive line to threaten to score.
In fact, there was no suspense in the game’s outcome after Rugg led the potent La Jolla offense to strike early, then repeatedly as the second quarter barreled on. After halftime, the only suspense was whether and when the QB would establish the new CIF record in this game or the next.
Pounding back Reid Martin added a touchdown on the ground midway through the second quarter, as the red-and-black’s advantage ballooned to 28-0 with 4:51 left in the first half. The auburn-haired senior clocked a typical 118 yards on his rushing odometer on 18 carries in his fifth game back after having two screws inserted near his left big toe in June to repair an injury.
Rugg, in amassing more than 3,300 yards this season, with more action to come against Christian High Friday, Nov. 21, in a 7 p.m. second-round matchup at Granite Hills High School, was his usual self- deprecating persona, deflecting credit for his new CIF touchdown record to his receivers and offensive line.
“It’s really nice, but I owe it to my teammates. Our receivers are amazing,” said Rugg, the sweat still on his brow after going 12 for 20 and 264 yards in three quarters. “I’m proud I did it, but I couldn’t have done with without my teammates.” The O-line protecting him all season, from left to right, has been Alex Lopez, Stefan Stojic, center Mateo Jimenez, David McColl, and Michael Penny.
What was he going to do to celebrate? Grinning, he said, “Go home, eat pizza, and watch TV,” including the PPR football highlights. (Pizza was going to be his favorite, Filippi’s with pepperoni.)
Viking head coach Jason Carter said he has taught Rugg in his two years of mentoring him to “use every inch of the field.” Asked before the game if the La Jolla offense was going to throw more to Fudge, who ended up with his trio of TD receptions, Carter said, “If he’s open.” The spread offense is predicated on the premise that “you take what the opponent gives you,”probing for weak spots and winning matchups.
For example, on Fudge’s 53-yard reception in the first quarter for Rugg’s 41st touchdown pass of the season, the receiver was well-covered but he made a good catch against his defender, then extended the play by slipping a tackle and scampering the rest of the way to the end zone.
Carter said after the game, “It (the record) couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Collin’s a good person. He’s team-oriented. He’ll be the first one to tell you he couldn’t do it without his teammates.”
La Jolla Offensive Statistics
■ Passing: Collin rugg 12-20, 264 yards, 6 TDs, 1 interception
■ Rushing: reid Martin 18 carries, 118 yards, 1 TD. Joe Vang 14 carries, 58 yards, 1 TD. Jonathan Levenson 4 carries, 25 yards. Collin rugg 3 carries, 19 yards
■ Receiving: Trenton Fudge 4 catches, 120 yards, 3 TDs. Carlton O’Neal 4 catches, 119 yards, 2 TDs. Brandon Bonham 1 catch, 3 yards, 1 TD. Berkeley Stobo 2 catches, 13 yards.