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Hart, Chaminade look to settle score

Both teams have new objectives after winning respective CIF titles

Posted: December 13, 2013 10:53 p.m.
Updated: December 13, 2013 10:53 p.m.

Hart's Connor Wingenroth runs the ball against Valencia during last week's CIF Southern Section Northern Division Championship.

 

Earlier this week, the Hart football team’s approach to tonight’s CIF State Regional Bowl Game, the Southern California Division II championship against Chaminade at College of the Canyons at 7:30 p.m., was that it had nothing to lose.

The Indians had already climbed to the mountaintop they set out to conquer by winning the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division championship on Dec. 6 with a 28-21 victory over Valencia.

The state tournament, it seemed, was icing.

But how can Hart (12-2) not be up for a game like this, a challenge like this.

Chaminade (12-2) was a team they defeated 55-54 in Week 2 in one of the state’s most electrifying games all year.

The Indians know the Eagles are chomping at the bit to get back at them.

“They’re a whole other team,” said Hart wide receiver Trent Irwin.

Plus, a win puts Hart in a position to win the Santa Clarita Valley’s second-ever CIF state title.

Canyon won the first in 2006 with a victory over mighty Concord De La Salle.

No Indian wants their bitter rival Canyon to have something that they don’t have.

In order to get to the Dec. 21 Division II state championship game in Carson against the winner of 13-1 Manteca and 12-0 Enterprise, Hart has the daunting task of beating a team that has won seven straight games since a 36-0 loss to Serra.

The seventh win was a CIF-SS Western Division 38-35 revenge victory over Serra on Dec. 6.

“I thought we caught them at the right time,” said Chaminade head coach Ed Croson. “It would have been hard for them to be real motivated for us. I’m not sure if they came into the game expecting it to be tough.”

The Eagles have been an offensive juggernaut all season, averaging 47.8 points per game.

Miami of Florida-bound quarterback Brad Kaaya has 3,488 yards this season. Included in that was 378 yards against Hart in the first meeting.

Colorado-bound running back Donovan Lee also had a big game against Hart with 173 of his 1,804 rushing yards on the season in that game.

But Croson said one of the biggest differences for the Eagles in their seven-game winning streak has been a solidifying offensive line.

However, Chaminade’s defense has allowed more than 30 points in a game seven times this season.

Hart’s had a little more success on the defensive side.

They’ve limited opponents to 14 points or less seven times.

“I think our defense is stepping up a lot. I think everyone’s molded into what we thought we could be,” said Irwin, who had an interception last week. “I’m thinking it will be a lower scoring game.”

As a unit, the Hart secondary was outstanding last week against Valencia and the defensive front picked its spots well against the Vikings, most notably a sack by Cody Shoemaker that set up the game-winning interception by Connor Wingenroth.

And speaking of Wingenroth, he has 914 rushing yards in the Indians’ four postseason games.

Keeping the Chaminade offense off the field should benefit the Indians, but Hart could also match up well in a shootout like in the last game between the two teams.

Indians junior quarterback Brady White torched Chaminade for 508 yards and seven touchdowns on Sept. 6.

Croson is expecting the best from Hart and even said the staff has been watching game film of Alemany, thinking its head coach Dean Herrington and defensive coordinator Rick Herrington are helping their brother.

Regardless of who is helping, Mike Herrington thinks his team, despite winning its ninth CIF title, was not at its best last week.

“We didn’t play good last week. We had six turnovers, seven if you count an onside kick,” Herrington said. “Defensively we played pretty good. Offensively we could play better. I think we haven’t played our best.”

Maybe that means Hart still has a lot to show.

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