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Hart's state title hopes thwarted

Chaminade wins rematch with Indians 28-10

Posted: December 14, 2013 11:05 p.m.
Updated: December 14, 2013 11:05 p.m.

Joseph McIntosh (14) tackles Hart Indian wide receiver Trent Irwin (4) at College of the Canyons on Saturday.

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This Hart Indians football team announced itself to the prep football world three months ago against Chaminade.

And it was the very same team on the very same field that ended Hart’s historic season.

After losing to Hart in week 2, the Chaminade Eagles of West Hills got their revenge with a 28-10 win on Saturday night in the Indians’ first appearance in a state playoff game in school history at College of the Canyons.

It was the CIF Southern California Division II State Bowl Game, which Hart was chosen for last week after it beat Valencia 28-21 to win the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division championship.

If Hart (12-3) had won, it would have advanced to a state championship game the following weekend.

Instead, the Indians will settle for a season in which it captured its ninth CIF title and first in 10 years.

“We came into this game CIF champions,” said Hart senior Wes Fitzpatrick. “We did what we set out to do from day one. Coach said we were playing with free money.”

Saturday’s game took on a far different tone than the teams’ previous matchup on Sept. 6, when Hart won 55-54 in a wild overtime shootout.

In the rematch, both teams played well defensively and played closer to the vest on offense.

Chaminade (13-2), the CIF-SS Western Division champions, led 7-3 at halftime and didn’t start pulling away until midway through the third quarter when running back Cory Watkins scored his second touchdown of the day on a 1-yard plunge with 5:14 left in the third quarter.

The Eagles added another score on a Yancy Kieren 22-yard run to put the game away late in the fourth.

Hart senior and star running back Connor Wingenroth was limited after coming off four straight outstanding performances in the playoffs.

The senior finished his impressive three-year varsity career with 41 yards on 17 carries.

Hart made a few big plays in the passing game, but they were too often followed with negative plays.

Junior quarterback Brady White was sacked five times and it was his fumble in the first quarter that helped set up Chaminade for the first score of the game on a 3-yard run by Watkins.

The Eagles took a 7-0 lead and Hart never got closer than 7-3 after that.

“We would have liked to come out and dominate a little better than we did,” said Hart senior linebacker Garret Updegraft.

White ended up 23-of-46 passing for 244 yards, one interception and one 22-yard touchdown pass to Chase White in the game’s final minute.

After looking sluggish on offense in the first half, the Eagles began running the ball out of a similar power pitch formation that gave Hart troubles earlier in the season.

“We went to it because we had problems and need to settle down,” said Chaminade head coach Ed Croson.

Watkins was the game’s leading rusher with 91 yards on 14 carries and the two scores. Kieren had 68 yards and one score.

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