Thu, Oct 07 2010 10:58 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
The San Diego Section Division IV playoff field is slowly starting to take shape and it appears the Olympian Eagles will occupy one of the top slots after handing the previously undefeated Madison Warhawks an emphatic 28-17 non-league defeat last Friday.
“It was a big win,” Olympian head coach Gil Warren said. “They’ve been in the playoffs every year. They’re a power.”
After spotting the Warhawks an early 10-0 lead, the Eagles soared the remainder of the contest by out-scoring the visitors 28-7.
However, the victory proved a costly one as two-way standout Asante Gibson suffered a broken leg and will miss the remainder of the season.
“It was on a third-and-12 play and he broke three tackles and looked ready to break free but he jammed his foot, it was a freak thing,” Warren said. “He was a standout on both offense and defense and special teams for us. He was one of our main players. The other guys are going to have to suck it up.
“We’re trying to be physical. Santana Leomiti and Asante were our two big hitters. Every week we’re trying to see how we match up with other teams.”
Last Friday’s win, despite its costly nature, has to send out shock waves.
Valley Center (5-0) and Santana (4-0-1) remain the only two undefeated teams in the division, with Olympian now occupying third place in the division standings with three other teams all with 3-1 records: Brawley, Madison and Palo Verde. Imperial is 2-1-1 while Santa Fe Christian is 3-2 and Coronado is 2-2.
Those nine teams appear to form the upper echelon of this year’s playoff field of 12 teams. Four teams remain winless: Crawford, Mission Bay, Clairemont and La Jolla. Three teams each have one victory: Escondido Charter, Del Norte and Mater Dei Catholic. From that lower group of eight teams, three playoff qualifiers will emerge.
Valley Center and Santa Fe Christian might be considered the top two contenders to play for the division championship in Qualcomm Stadium. But don’t rule out the Eagles quite yet.
Olympian advanced to last year’s quarterfinals after defeating Santana for the school’s first-ever playoff victory. A semifinal appearance — or better — might not be out of the question this year.
But plenty of football remains on tap, as the Eagles have six more regular season games left, including three games in the brand new Metro-Pacific League.
Madison took an early lead on a 37-yard field goal by Mitchell Esser and an 80-yard pass play from quarterback Chase Knox to Jeremy Hutchison.
The Eagles were fortunate it was only 10 points. Olympian shot itself in the foot on three occasions early on. A potential touchdown pass went through the hands of one Eagle receiver in the end zone while a 46-yard field goal attempt sailed just wide. A few minutes later, an interception by Brandon Casillas placed the ball at the Madison nine-yard line. That scoring drive was promptly negated by a fumble on the next play.
But one had the idea that the hosts would be knocking again in the red zone — and that proved to be the case.
Alex Cornist (27 carries, 126 yards) scored on a five-yard run with 2:06 to play in the first half and then quarterback Cobrin Hum-phrey (six-of-12 passing, 76 yards) threw a 21-yard scoring strike to a diving Steve Exum in the back of the end zone with 43 seconds to go in the first half.
Ahead 14-10, the Eagles surrendered only a fourth quarter touchdown to the visitors while scoring twice themselves in the second half.
Humphrey broke out of a pile-up of players on a quarterback keeper that went for 37 yards and Kevin Ehm later scored on a three-yard run.
Jovan Gonzalez kicked all four extra points.
Olympian controlled the ball with its run-oriented offense, generating 349 rushing yards on a staggering 63 carries. The Eagles amassed 425 yards in total offense.
Humphrey rushed seven times for 64 yards and also had an interception on defense while Asante Gibson had nine carries for 85 yards and Dre Gibson rushed 13 times for 44 yards. Ricky Srandard had two carries for 20 yards
Asante Gibson also caught two passes for 20 yards while Cornist had one catch for 21 yards and Dre Gibson had two catches for 13 yards.
Madison defenders were kept busy. Keanu Johnson led the Warhawks with 13 tackles while teammate Mahdi Salahuddin made 10 stops. Michael Stutz and Keith Navarro both recorded sacks for the visitors while Stutz and Johnson made fumble recoveries.
Olympian, which kicked off the 2010 campaign with a bye week, plays every Friday through the end of the regular season. The Eagles host Mater Dei (1-4) and San Ysidro (1-4) in back-to-back games before leaving their nest for one final non-league match-up at Hilltop on Oct. 22.
Olympian, along with Montgomery, Castle Park and Sweetwater, officially kick off Metro-Pacific League play on Oct. 29.
Ian Autman, a key player counted on in the Eagles backfield, is expected to return from a knee injury in three weeks.
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