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Santa Clarita Christian 8-Man Football: title defense

Cardinals repeat as their defense shuts out Faith Baptist through three quarters

Posted: December 5, 2009 10:30 p.m.
Updated: December 6, 2009 4:30 a.m.

Santa Clarita Christian's Brandon Harris (34) scores a touchdown after recovering a fumble in the second half against Faith Baptist in Canoga Park on Saturday. The Cardinals won 38-22.

CANOGA PARK — It’s eight man, not one man.

Though Santa Clarita Christian’s Collin Keoshian once again carried a heavy load, it was the contributions of an entire team, especially on defense, that led the Cardinals to a repeat as CIF-Southern Section Division I 8-Man champions.

SCCS shut Faith Baptist out for three quarters and eventually defeated the Contenders 38-22 at Faith Baptist on Saturday.

It’s the second consecutive season the Cardinals have defeated Faith Baptist in the championship game.

SCCS won last year’s meeting 50-28.

“We knew our offense could put up points. We knew the key to the game was stopping them,” said Cardinals head coach Garrick Moss.

The Cardinals (9-4) forced three turnovers in the game — two leading to touchdowns and the last sealing the win.

Keoshian did have another huge game, in this, his high school finale.

He ran the ball 33 times for 118 yards, scored three touchdowns on the ground and threw a touchdown pass.

“I’ll be honest with you, the only way to make this a happy ending was to win the game,” Keoshian said.

The four touchdowns brought his career total to 143 — a Santa Clarita Valley record.

The BYU-bound football player helped give the Cardinals a 16-0 lead going into halftime by running in a 7-yard touchdown and scoring a two-point conversion with 6:04 to play in the second quarter. Later, he threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Chris Fechtelkotter and ran in a two-pointer with 8.6 seconds to play in the half.

The second touchdown was set up by a fumble recovery by SCCS defensive lineman Daniel Chaplin.

Chaplin also had a sack in the game.

“The defense stepped it up,” Chaplin said. “I would like to use a quote that Collin Keoshian says, ‘We broke their will.’”

The Cardinals continued to break the Contenders’ will with a defense that held Faith back for most of the game.

It allowed for SCCS’s offense to move the ball in small increments on the ground and eat up clock.

On the first drive of the third quarter, Keoshian connected with receiver Ryan Espinosa on a 51-yard pass.

It set up a Keoshian 8-yard touchdown then two-point run, giving SCCS a 24-0 lead with 11:06 to play in the third.

Keoshian came up big again in the opening minute of the fourth quarter as Faith’s David Herrman caught a pass and tried to turn it up field.

He stiff-armed Keoshian, who then swatted the ball out of the receiver’s hands.

Cardinal Brandon Harris scooped up the ball and ran it 22 yards for the score.

Another two-pointer gave SCCS a 32-0 lead.

Keoshian would score his final touchdown with 8:49 to play in the game on a 7-yard sweep — giving SCCS a 38-6 lead.

“Santa Clarita had a great game plan and their defense stepped it up,” said Faith quarterback Matt Rasmussen. “That’s going to happen. But we never stopped fighting.”

Faith’s fight took shape in the fourth quarter.

Running back Nicholas Wallin, who ran for 102 yards on 18 carries, started to pick up big gains and Matt Rasmussen got comfortable in the pocket.

Faith Baptist (10-3) scored three touchdowns in the games final nine minutes — Wallin ran one in from 22, he tossed a 46-yard touchdown pass to Herrman and Rasmussen delivered a 40-yard score to Austin Fry with 46 seconds to play.

The Contenders then recovered an onside kick.

But the Cardinals’ defense had one big play left in it.

With 13 seconds to play, Fechtelkotter intercepted a pass in the end zone.

The Cardinals were champions.

For part of this season, SCCS looked like it might not have a chance to defend its title.

It started the season with an entire new offensive line.

One of its key components from last year’s team, Steven Borden, moved to Texas.

After six games, the Cardinals were banged up and 2-4.

“It was tough. Guys on the team were frustrated. Coaches were frustrated,” Moss said. “We tried to convince them they were talented. We knew if we got to full strength we could be competitive.”

At full strength, the Cardinals were more than competitive — they couldn’t be beat.


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