Fri, Nov 25 2011 04:27 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
The Chula Vista Spartans did not capture this year’s Metro-Mesa League championship title but head coach Judd Rachow’s team did accomplish something unique with last Friday’s 30-0 first round San Diego Section Division I playoff victory against the visiting Escondido Cougars: The Spartans finished 6-0 in home games.
Rachow, who jokingly refered to the accomplishment as his team’s “home field advantage,” admitted the feat was not easy.
“It’s not that easy as it might seem, regardless of the sport, to go undefeated in all your home games,” the CVHS coach said. “Now we have to win on the road — that makes a good football team.”
On the road is exactly where the eighth-seeded Spartans (6-5) find themselves in Friday’s quarterfinal playoffs, specifically at Poway High School against the top-seeded Titans (9-0-1).
Chula Vista — 0-5 in road assignments this season — must somehow find a way to hand Poway its first loss of the season if it has serious designs on advancing through the playoff bracket.
The Spartans certainly established themselves as a good football team this season with victories against Bonita Vista, Otay Ranch and Escondido to build on early season rivalry game wins against Sweetwater and Hilltop.
Just how good remains to be seen. That will be determined on Friday.
By their performance against the Cougars last Friday, Chula Vista definitely proved it belongs in the group of final eight teams in the division.
The Spartans led 10-0 after the first quarter with a healthy helping of defense and offense.
Michael Molina recovered a fumble at the Chula Vista 29-yard line to stall Escondido’s first drive. The teams went the other way, with sophomore Jayvon Reed scoring on an eight-yard carry with 7:18 left in the opening quarter to stake the hosts to a 7-0 lead.
The Spartans advanced the ball all the way down to the Escondido four-yard line on their next drive where the Cougar defense stiffened to force a 21-yard field goal off the foot of CV’s Omar Rebollo.
Escondido, which has made significant progress from a 1-8-1 season in 2010, had nothing to lose in last Friday’s playoff game and pulled out all the stops in an effort to win.
The Spartans stopped the pesky Cougars on downs at the CV 27-yard line. Escondido remained in the game after blocking a 41-yard field goal attempt on the hosts’ next possession.
Escondido then made a critical mistake by fumbling the ball at the Spartan seven-yard line.
Chula Vista promptly capitalized on the Cougars’ misfortune as junior Jevante Reed raced to the 50-yard line. Two carries later, he broke off a 40-yard run before eventually hauling in a five-yard scoring pass from Spartan quarterback Ricky Estevez.
Rebollo’s kick made the score 17-0 at halftime.
The Jevante Reed show was just getting started, as it turned out.
Reed turned in a career showcase performance in Chula Vista’s 41-28 non-league loss at Aliso Niguel the previous week by rushing for a school-record 389 yards.
Reed turned a short pass from Estevez into a electrifying 64-yard catch-and-carry touchdown with 5:53 left in the third quarter to make the score 23-0.
The hosts drove to the Escondido five-yard line in the first minute of the fourth quarter only to fumble the ball. But Reed made amends for that a little more than seven minutes later when he scored on a 10-yard run.
30-0 and 6-0: a pair of numbers that had to please a lot of people in the Chula Vista program.
“The kids showed up to play after a good week of practice,” Rachow said. “Escondido was an improved team. Our kids have some confidence now. My hat is off to the kids.”
Jevante Reed collected 236 yards on 27 carries and tacked on 79 yards on three catches against Escondido to finish the game with three touchdowns.
He enters Friday’s game having rushed for 1,118 yards on 144 carries and scored 15 touchdowns, including four in the receiving department.
Rachow said Reed’s success has stemmed from a move from fullback to the tailback position two games ago. “He seemed a lot quicker as a tailback, so we made the move,” the CVHS coach said.
The switch has obviously reaped dividends. In fact, Rachow said the best from Reed is yet to come.
“He’s still raw, he’s still learning the position,” the CVHS coach said “He’s a powerful runner. Once he gets it all down, he’s going to be dynamite.”
“Dynamite” might also be a word to help describe the season that Estevez is having. The junior signal-caller enters Friday’s game at Poway having thrown for 1,533 yards and 14 touchdowns this season.
He finished with 10 completions in 20 attempts against the Cougars for 193 yards and two touchdowns.
He has been intercepted 12 times this season, including once last week.
Ray Holden had five catches for 87 yards in last Friday’s playoff win while teammate Richard Walker had two catches for 27 yards.
As a team, the Spartans rushed for 290 yards on 39 carries.
Rudy Jaimes led Chula Vista with 14 tackles and two sacks. Maake Wolfgram had a fumble recovery while Molina also registered a sack.
Poway, led by senior quarterback Gabriel Isaak and junior running back Nehemiah Gross, has reeled off six dominating wins to close out the season following a 17-17 non-league tie against San Pasqual on Sept. 23.
The Titans are coming off a 35-2 Palomar League victory over Rancho Bernardo on Nov. 10. The Titans began their torrid run with a 42-7 victory against Mt. Carmel and followed with equally dominant wins against Ramona (33-7), Westview (45-14), Carlsbad (31-13), and Torrey Pines (28-9).
Bonita Vista saw its playoff run stalled with a 48-0 first-round Division II loss at seventh-seeded Westview (8-3). The 10th-seeded Barons finished 3-7-1.
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