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Prep football: Improved Eagles to face SCCS

Excelsior has grown since first grabbing Cards’ attention in 2008

Posted: November 25, 2010 9:12 p.m.
Updated: November 26, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 

Normally, a coach might spend the week before a game preparing to play the opponent.

For Santa Clarita Christian School head coach Garrick Moss, the preparation for today’s game literally began years ago.

SCCS hopes it pays off at 7 p.m. in the CIF-Southern Section Division I 8-man semifinals against Excelsior of Victorville at Canyon High.

“Two years ago when we made our run and won (the CIF-SS Div. I 8-man title), they were a team that I was getting as much film of as I could because I knew they were going to be a tough team to deal with,” Moss said of Excelsior.

SCCS (10-1) cruised through the first two round of the playoffs, beating Riverside Prep and Laguna Blanca by combined scores of 96-0.

Moss doesn’t see any reason to expect a third straight blowout, as he had his eye on the up-and-coming Excelsior program ever since 2008.

Specifically, Moss was watching Eagles running back Joe Harrison, who was a freshman then.

Now, the Cardinals are faced with the task of defending Harrison, who has rushed for 1,702 yards and 25 touchdowns in this, his junior year.

He’s helped Excelsior (6-4) recover from a 1-4 start to the season and go on a five-game winning streak headed into today.

“If you look at the teams on paper, size, strength and speed-wise, they are a really big test for us,” Moss said.

As a team, the Eagles average 367 rushing yards per game thanks to fullbacks Kyle Washington and Oscar Valadez backing up Harrison in the ground game.

SCCS has its own powerful runner in Daniel Green.

In the first two rounds of the playoffs, the senior tallied 201 yards and four rushing touchdowns on just 13 carries. He also had a 69-yard kickoff return touchdown in the first round against Riverside Prep.

The Cardinals have also shown the ability to open up the passing game with quarterback Mark Hovey at the helm. He tossed two touchdowns and went 8-for-17 for 100 yards against Riverside Prep.

If the Cardinals’ versatile offense is able to get past the Eagles, they’ll be playing in a third-straight CIF-SS Division I 8-man title game.

First and foremost, SCCS has to take care of business in today’s matchup.

“If we don’t take this game seriously and take care of the ball, we could be watching the championship game from the sidelines as fans,” Moss said.

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