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SCCS football: Not quite enough

Prep football: SCCS falls short against undefeated Capistrano Valley team

Posted: October 26, 2013 11:02 p.m.
Updated: October 26, 2013 11:02 p.m.

Santa Clarita Christian wide receiver Cam Lewis runs for a 69-yard touchdown in the second quarter against Capistrano Valley Christian on Saturday at Canyon High School. SCCS lost the game 36-33.

Optimists saw a lot of offense.

Pessimists saw a whole lot more missed tackles.

Either way, Saturday night’s San Joaquin League contest between the Santa Clarita Christian Cardinals and Capistrano Valley Christian Eagles football teams was wildly entertaining, and there were plenty of points on the scoreboard to prove it.

But if there was a problem with Saturday night’s showdown at Canyon High, it was that somebody had to lose. This time, it was the Cardinals — falling 36-33 in a thriller that fans from both sides will surely remember.

CVC (8-0 overall, 3-0 in San Joaquin League) entered Saturday’s game undefeated and hardly challenged along the way, outscoring opponents by an average of 40 points per contest.

But the Cardinals (4-4, 1-1), who came in barely above .500, made it clear early that they couldn’t care less.

Cardinals junior running back DJ King opened scoring early with a 62-yard touchdown run to bring the score to 6-0 with 10:33 remaining in the first quarter.

Yet, as was the case all night, a score from one team served only to elicit a response from the other.

The Eagles took a 7-6 lead late in the first quarter after Eagles senior running back Sam Sukut punched it in from 5 yards out.

In a game where neither team could separate itself from the other, Sukut’s playmaking abilities were a huge difference maker. The Eagles’ standout finished with 312 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns, taking advantage of the fact that the SCCS defense could not bring him down upon first contact.

To be fair, the Eagles didn’t help themselves on defense either, and entered halftime trailing 19-15 after Cardinals junior receiver Cam Lewis took a pass from Jonathan Saavedra 61 yards for a touchdown halfway through the second quarter.

After halftime, whatever adjustments were made went out the window as the back and forth continued.

CVC took a 22-19 lead with 10:14 remaining in the third quarter when senior receiver Mike Updegraff hauled in a 22-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Riley Babick on a fourth-and-15.

The Cardinals promptly responded when King hauled in a 15-yard pass from Saavedra just two minutes later.

Again, the Eagles answered, when Sukut received a lateral on a hook-and-ladder play and took it 63 yards to the house to bring his team back on top 29-25 late in the third quarter.

Yet, if either SCCS or CVC hoped to take control of a game where momentum swings occurred on seemingly every other play, something had to give.

Ultimately, it was the Cardinals’ composure that gave.

The Cardinals turned the ball over four times in the fourth quarter, the most devastating of the bunch being when Cardinals running back Kamron Carroll fumbled the ball into the Eagles’ end zone midway through the fourth quarter — squandering a potential go ahead score.

SCCS didn’t help itself on special teams either, leaving five points on the board via missed two-point conversions and missed extra points.

While Saavedra had a monster game — the junior accounted for 460 total yards and three touchdowns — his late turnovers sealed the deal as CVC converted on one of them to take a 36-25 lead with 3:55 remaining in the game.

While Saavedra ran it in from 52 yards to bring the game within three points with 30 seconds remaining, it proved to be too little to late.


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