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Prep football: Cards can’t hold

SCCS can’t stop Faith Baptist’s passing game en route to first loss of the season

Posted: October 23, 2010 11:38 p.m.
Updated: October 24, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Santa Clarita Christian receiver Chris Fechtelkotter, front, attempts to catch a pass against Faith Baptist defender A.J. Woodson on Saturday at Faith Baptist.

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CANOGA PARK - Until Saturday, Santa Clarita Christian dominated every game it played this season.

After mercy-ruling their opponents by halftime in six consecutive games, the Cardinals experienced their first full game of the season Saturday in their Heritage League opener at Faith Baptist of Canoga Park.

The result was much different.

The Cardinals turned the ball over three times and gave up big-yardage plays, falling 52-16 to the Contenders, the team SCCS beat in the CIF-Southern Section Division I 8-man championship game the last two seasons.

"Tough loss, but we feel we can get a lot of improvement from this and get better," Cardinals head coach Garrick Moss said. "We're glad we had to fight hard for four quarters in our first really, really tough game in the whole season."

Ranked No. 1 in the state by, Faith Baptist (7-0, 1-0) was able to execute big plays to go ahead early, scoring on its first possession. The Contenders also forced key turnovers to keep SCCS (6-1, 0-1) from catching up.

Faith Baptist co-head coach Robert Davidson said the team worked hard all week to prepare for SCCS.

"We knew what they were going to do; we knew their Wildcat (formation). They run that better than anyone I've ever seen," Davidson said. "We practiced hard for them, and I think the kids just wanted this badly."

The Cardinals' defense didn't have an answer for the Faith Baptist passing game, allowing Contenders quarterback Matt Rasmussen to throw five touchdown passes. Rasmussen finished 10-for-15 for 209 yards and also scored two touchdowns on runs of 32 and 26 yards.

"We knew if we didn't play our best game that we were going to get beat," Rasmussen said. "The coaches had a great game plan coming in. My receivers caught everything, and my offensive line just gave me all day."

Rasmussen connected with David Hermann for a 30-yard touchdown on the Contenders' first possession and extended the lead to 12-0 on the next possession after connecting with Joshua Larson on an 18-yard touchdown pass.

SCCS quarterback Mark Hovey hit Daniel Green with a 9-yard touchdown pass with just 11 seconds left in the first quarter. Green connected with Ryan Espinosa on a pass for the two-point conversion, closing the gap to 12-8. But it was as close as the Cardinals would get.

The Contenders scored again on a 7-yard pass from Rasmussen to Larson and completed the two-point conversion to go ahead 20-8.

With the ball on their own 38, the Cardinals decided to go for it on fourth-and-three. But, an illegal motion penalty forced SCCS to punt.

On the ensuing possession, the Cardinals gave up another touchdown on a 52-yard pass from Rasmussen to Hermann, leaving SCCS behind 26-8 at halftime.

The Cardinals came out strong after the half and converted two first downs, but Faith Baptist forced and recovered a fumble. The Contenders cashed in on the next play via a 43-yard pass from Rasmussen to Larson. With the two-point conversion the Contenders were up 34-8.

With 2:35 left in the third quarter, SCCS running back Luke Asher ran in a 5-yard touchdown and Trevor Lopez added the conversion to creep up on the Contenders 34-16.

Again, Faith Baptist answered. This time it was Hermann returning the kickoff for a touchdown, stretching the Contender lead to 40-16 at the end of the third quarter.

Faith Baptist scored on a 32-yard Rasmussen run to further extend the lead to 46-16 with 11:06 left in the game.

The Cardinals followed with a five-minute possession as they marched down the field to the Faith Baptist 4-yard line. Again, the Contenders were able to force and recover a fumble to keep the Cardinals from scoring.

The Contenders capped the game with a 26-yard touchdown run by Rasmussen.

"You can't turn over the ball against a team like this or give up big strike plays," Moss said. "Take those away and it's a close game."

Hermann had five receptions for 105 yards, including three touchdowns. Larson also had three touchdown catches, finishing with four receptions for 99 yards.

The Contenders leading rusher was Austin Fry with 13 carries for 50 yards.

For SCCS, Hovey completed 4-of-13 passes for 51 yards, including one interception and one touchdown.

Green had 21 carries for 111 yards. He also had two catches for 17 yards and threw 3-for-9 for 27 yards.

"I didn't feel like we were dying out there in the fourth quarter," Moss said. "I think it's more about not having been tested or being in a close game."



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