Julie Stalmer 6:30 p.m., July 23
Countdown to the Finals: Division IV
(1) Mission Bay (12-0) vs (2) Valley Center (11-1) Saturday 7 p.m. at Southwestern College
Of the five section title games, this one played outside the stadium could turn out to be the best of the weekend. Mission Bay has been as close to unstoppable as any team in the section this season, due in large part to dual threat quarterback Dillon Baxter. Baxter’s numbers this year are flat out ridiculous – 1,922 yards passing, 2,590 yards rushing and 46 total touchdowns – and those don’t touch on his impact on defense and special teams. Baxter and the Buccaneers offense comes in averaging a gaudy 46.1 points per game, but they haven’t faced a defense yet this season as stingy as the Valley Center blackshirts. The Jaguars’ defense has allowed only 11.7 points per game, a figure that shrinks to 8.7 if their 45-7 loss to Oceanside on Nov. 6 is thrown away.
Valley Center has had a strong rushing attack all season behind 1,000-yard rusher Stanton Upson, and ball possession will be key for the Jaguars as they look to win their third section title in a row and fourth in five years. If the game is a track meet, the Bucs will take it; if not, expect a great game. The last time these two teams met was in the 2007 section finals, with Valley Center winning their first of consecutive titles 20-0.