Jeff Smith 12:30 p.m., Feb. 11
Division V Finals
Friday, Dec. 9, 7 p.m. at Mesa College
(1) Santa Fe Christian (11-1) vs. (2) Christian (9-3)
Of the five section finals, the Division V championship is the only contest that matches up top two seeds. After finishing one-two in the Coastal League, Santa Fe Christian and Christian rolled through the postseason to set up a rematch – the Eagles won their two playoff games by an average of 40.5 points and the Patriots prevailed by an average of 20.5 points.
Santa Fe Christian moved down to Division V before the season, and it has come at the expense of the rest of the teams in the division as the Eagles seek their first section title since winning Division IV in 2006. Santa Fe Christian has a host of talented two-way players, including senior quarterback/safety Connor Moore and senior running back/cornerback Jarrod Watson-Lewis. The Eagles have efficiently averaged 40.8 points per game and nearly 300 yards rushing out of the Wing-T, and have rattled off 11 straight wins since a season-opening loss to Westview – including a 48-34 win over Christian on Oct. 29.
Christian hasn’t lost since its first meeting with Santa Fe Christian in Solana Beach, winning four straight and rolling up 103 points in its two playoff wins. Senior quarterback Shane Dillon (2,873 yards, 22 TDs) and receiver Kyle Harris (1,050, 10) lead a pass-happy Patriots attack bolstered late in the season by the running of junior back Rayvon Owens (591 yards, 12 TDs in the last four games). Anchored by Owens at linebacker, Christian’s defense doesn’t have impressive numbers – allowing more than 20 points to its last seven opponents – but makes stops and forces turnovers when it needs to. The Patriots are in finals for the first time in four years and seeking their first title since 2002.
The first meeting between these sister schools was a shootout that featured a combined 82 points – half of which came in the third quarter alone. Familiarity might produce a lower score on Friday night, but points will not be at a premium in this game. It might only take a few defensive stops to produce a winner.
Pictured: Christian quarterback Shane Dillon fires a pass with Patriots running back Rayvon Owens blocking Santa Fe Christian defensive lineman Hunter Vaccaro in the regular season meeting between the Coastal League rivals