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Cardinals show mercy

SCCS’s first-round playoff game is called at halftime due to mercy rule

Posted: November 15, 2008 10:45 p.m.
Updated: November 16, 2008 4:55 a.m.

Above, Santa Clarita Christian's Ethan Espinosa makes a tackle as Daniel Chaplin (45) looks on.

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Like a good mechanic working on an old car Saturday night, Santa Clarita Christian performed a tuneup against West Shores of Salton City, winning 53-0 at Cougar Stadium at College of the Canyons.

The Cardinals cruised past the first round of the CIF-Southern Section 8-man Division I Football Playoffs. The game was called at halftime due to the 45-point mercy rule.

Santa Clarita Christian, the second-place team from the Heritage League, allowed 69 total yards. Nearly 40 of those yards were allowed before its second-team players went in with eight minutes left in the second quarter. The Cardinals picked off two passes, had five sacks and another six tackles for losses.

"It was definitely our best defensive game of the season," said Cardinals head coach Garrick Moss. "We're very pleased. Our ‘D' really wanted to get pressure in the backfield."

Quarterback Steven Borden threw three touchdown passes to running back Collin Keoshian in the first eight minutes of the game for a 19-0 lead. Keoshian scored on receptions of 15, 58 and 7 yards.

Keoshian leapfrogged a Wildcat defender on the 58-yard play, a highlight-reel leap.

Borden went 4-for-6 for 103 yards and the three TDs. He ran for another 54 yards and two scores.

"It gave us an opportunity to work on some stuff," Borden said. "We don't normally get a chance to work on those kinds of plays."

While Saturday's site will not be officially set until early this week, it will certainly be a home game.

The tentative time, date and place is at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Canyon High. But whether the next game is Friday or Saturday, the No. 5 seed Cardinals (8-2) will play a second-round playoff game against Express League first-place team Avalon, the No. 3 overall seed.

On Saturday afternoon, the Lancers (10-0) won 70-18 over Montclair Prep.

Last season in the second round of the CIF-SS 8-Man Football Playoffs, SCCS beat Avalon, 36-35, in overtime at Canyon.

In that game, Avalon scored and went for the two-point conversion, only to get stuffed. Santa Clarita Christian went for it on fourth-and-10, scoring on a pass by Keoshian to Borden to win the game.

"It was the most exciting game of the season," Borden said. "They're a tough team. We have to come out and take it to them."

Moss said Saturday's game could be nearly as close as last season.

"Our guys want to make a run at this," Moss said. "We know Avalon's as good as it gets. They're going to be hungry. We told the boys after the game that you can't play a bad quarter against them. We're going to have to bring it for all four quarters."

So dominating was the Cardinals' performance that nearly all of their touchdowns were run in at what appeared to be half-speed. Colin Mayhugh and Keoshian both pie-faced their way to 25-yard touchdown runs.

Trevor Gilmore wrapped up on quarterback Jacob Ford for a safety and a 41-0 lead. That set up a 7-yard TD run by Chris Fechtelkotter, a freshman backup, to induce the mercy rule at 47-0. Brandon Manibog, another backup, ran one in from 12 yards out for the final touchdown of the evening.

Manibog was the leading rusher, running for 77 yards on seven carries.

West Shores (4-5), consisting primarily of freshmen and sophomores, is located 57 miles southeast of Palm Springs. It returned to the CIF-Southern Section after reaching the CIF-San Diego Section Playoffs. Carlos Gales gained 33 yards on 10 carries.


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