The Eastlake Titans will host the Grossmont Foothillers in Friday’s San Diego Section Division I semifinals. It’s become familiar territory for the Titans, who will be playing in their seventh consecutive semifinal contest when they kick off the game at 7 p.m.
The winner of Friday’s contest between second-seeded Eastlake (8-3) and third-seeded Grossmont (9-2) advances to next Friday’s championship game at Escondido High School against either top-seeded Mission Hills (9-2) or fourth-seeded San Pasqual (7-4).
The championship game is set for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
If the Titans can continue to play with the same intensity and focus that has garnered them solid victories in their final two games, coach John McFadden’s team may just find itself playing for its second Division I championship in four years.
The Titans defeated Vista, 21-14, for the 2009 division title.
Certainly, Eastlake looked impressive in toppling the 10th-seeded Torrey Pines Falcons, 28-10, in last Friday’s quarterfinals.
“We showed up to play,” McFadden underscored. “When we do, we play well.”
The Titans let their actions on the field speak for themselves.
Boise State-bound Aaron Baltazar led Eastlake with three touchdowns by scoring on runs of 13, 11 and 12 yards. He rushed 18 times for 197 yards, caught one pass for 14 yards and contributed 10 tackles, including eight solo stops, on defense.
As a team, the Titans rolled up 347 rushing yards. Tavarus Green tacked on 122 yards on 12 carries, including a 46-yard touchdown run to give the hosts a comfortable 28-3 lead 12 seconds into the fourth quarter.
The Eastlake defense held the Falcons, 42-7 upset winners over seventh-seeded Escondido in the opening round, to 124 passing yards and 139 rushing yards.
Chase Pickwell (14 carries, 75 yards) scored the lone touchdown for Torrey Pines (6-6), and that came with 2:03 left in the game. Spencer Stewart booted a 35-yard field goal in the first half.
Nasser Ali led the Titans with 16 tackles, including 13 unassisted stops, while Blake Wilson, Keifer Graham and Elijah Campbell each recorded sacks.
McFadden said Ali, the team’s defensive player of the game, “was all over the field.”
Wilson seemed to be in the backfield on almost every play.
“You play every down with the same intensity no matter where the other team is on the field,” Graham said. “You have one thing on your mind: try to stuff it.”
“Our kids worked really hard,” McFadden said. “We didn’t accomplish everything we wanted to this season but the kids have kept it going.”
The Foothillers have certainly kept it going after routing visiting Rancho Buena Vista, 55-34, in last Friday’s quarterfinals.
Anthony Lawrence passed for 344 yards and three touchdowns as the Hillers racked up 561 yards in total offense, including 409 passing yards. Christian Brooks (four catches, 112 yards) tossed a 65-yard halfback-option pass for a touchdown while also catching two TD passes.
Marlon Lampart rushed for 106 yards and three TDs. J.T. Barnes (four catches, 118 yards) and Jeff Bowers (eight catches, 133 yards) also caught scoring passes.
Lawrence has passed for 3,151 yards and 32 touchdowns. Those numbers are not a misprint.
“Just to get to the semifinals is an accomplishment,” Wilson said. “Our goal is to peak in the playoffs. We’re playing the best defensively we have all season. It’s great to go to war each week with your friends.”
The Titans will need to win one more battle in order to get to the final conflict.
#1 Eagles torch Sundevils 40-7; advance to face #4 Hornets
When you happen to be seeded No. 1 in your division in the San Diego Section playoffs, there are obviously high standards to meet.
Though the top-seeded Olympian Eagles dispatched the ninth-seeded Mt. Carmel Sundevils, 40-7, in last Friday’s Division III quarterfinals, the Eagles’ performance didn’t quite meet the expectations of veteran head coach Gil Warren.
“I think the two weeks off due to the playoff bye hurt us,” said Warren, who grumbled despite last Friday’s lop-sided win.
“We played tough defense and moved the ball with ease. We went out and ran the ball down their throats. Boom, boom, boom, we scored a touchdown. We did the same thing again.
“After we made it 12-0, it turned to garbage. We did just enough to get the win.”
Warren expects more out of his team if it is going to improve on its spotless 11-0 record when it hosts the fourth-seeded Lincoln Hornets (8-3) in Friday’s semifinals.
The winner advances to the Division III championship game Dec. 1 at Escondido High School.
“We’ve got to get back to being a good disciplined team,” Warren emphasized.
Olympian, runners-up for last year’s division championship title, will be out to snare a school-record 12th victory on Friday. The Eagles also started 11-0 in 2009 before ending their season with a quarterfinal loss in the Division IV playoffs.
The Eagles, who sport the section’s lone unbeaten record, appear to be playing at a new level this year.
Andrell Snowden (20 carries, 138 yards) scored three rushing touchdowns to lead Olympian past the Sundevils (5-7). Isaiah Gibson (five carries, 42 yards) and Alize Carson (two carries, five yards) also each scored one rushing touchdown while Daniel Gutierrez turned in a 41-yard touchdown catch.
Olympian generated 232 rushing yards and 66 passing yards off the arm of quarterback Christopher Humphrey, who managed four completions in 11 attempts.
Defensively, Christein Humphrey, Christopher’s twin, had one interception while Gibson had one fumble recovery.
The Eagles stung the Hornets for a 21-14 victory in a non-league game played Sept. 21 at OHS. But, as Warren previously noted, not only has his team improved over the course of the season, so have all the other teams that still remain in the playoffs.
Lincoln eliminated visiting Point Loma, seeded fifth, by a 21-17 score in last Friday’s quarterfinals. The game ultimately came down to defense as the Hornets’ Tyree Robinson closed out the Pointers’ season with an interception. Robinson also did it on offense with three touchdown receptions as Lincoln recovered from an early 10-0 deficit.
The Hornets, who coughed up four turnovers in the early season setback to Olympian, will be seeking redemption in the teams’ rematch.
Lincoln had an interception, fumble recovery and two sacks against Point Loma (9-4).
Snowden leads the Eagles with 1,093 rushing yards and a team-best 14 touchdowns. Sergio Bailey (37 catches, 759 yards) ranks second on the team with 13 TDs while Christopher Humphrey has thrown for 1,357 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Olympian carries an even bigger stick on defense.
The Eagles, who are led by Zac Norton’s 125 tackles, have amassed 25 sacks, 19 picks and nine fumble recoveries.
“We’ve just got to stay consistent throughout the game and not let our heads get down,” Snowden said.