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Eagles de-claw Wildcats, 40-21, fly into uncharted territory Phillip Brents | Thu, Dec 02 2010 02:47 PM

The Olympian Eagles ventured into uncharted air space — the San Diego Section semifinals — after defeating the visiting Brawley Wildcats, 40-21, in last Friday’s Division IV quarterfinals. The team’s 10th victory of the season catapulted the reigning Metro-Pacific League champions to Thursday’s semifinal match-up against the third-seeded Madison Warhawks, with the winner advancing to Monday’s championship game at Qualcomm Stadium.

“We haven’t been there before — everyone’s excited,” Olympian head coach Gil Warren said.

The second-seeded Eagles, who have been dealt a bad hand throughout much of the season with untimely injuries, got a big boost with the return of running back Alex Cornist. Though he didn’t start the game, Cornist made a huge impact with 156 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

Dre Gibson rushed for 75 yards and two scores while Akeem Foxworth scored on a three-yard rushing play.

Olympian (10-1) made the most of its chances. Quarterback Cobrin Humphrey completed three of seven passing attempts for 36 yards. As a team, the Eagles generated 161 rushing yards for a total offensive output of 197 yards.

No. 7 Brawley (9-3) generated 132 rushing yards. But the Olympian defense otherwise shut down standout quarterback Donald Wharton, who completed five of 12 passing attempts for 67 yards and rushed for 59 yards.

A.B. Oceguera, who rushed 10 times for 30 yards, scored one rushing TD and also returned a kick-off 98 yards for a touchdown to electrify the sizable Brawley fan base in attendance on a night in which the mercury plunged into the 30s in most areas of the South Bay.
The Eagles seized the momentum early with a 12-0 lead and never looked back after going up 26-14 at halftime.

“It was the first time we’ve gotten this far — the kids have really stepped up,” said Warren, whose team had won nine consecutive games heading into Thursday’s semifinal contest. “We had never seen them (the Wildcats) before. They ran the option. It was hard to duplicate what they do. We did a great job defensively. We forced turnovers. We’re very proud of that.”

Thursday’s semifinal game was a rematch of the teams’ non-league encounter on Oct. 1 in which Olympian prevailed 28-17. The Western League champion Warhawks (10-1) entered the teams’ rematch buoyed by a seven-game winning streak.

“We beat them earlier but they’ve gotten stronger since then — it’s always tough trying to beat the same team twice in the same season,” Warren said.

The Olympian-Madison semifinal winner will play either top-seeded Valley Center (11-0) or fourth-seeded Santa Fe Christian (7-4) Monday at 10 a.m. in Mission Valley.

“Everybody’s excited about the possibility of winning the semifinal game and going to the stadium,” Warren said. “It’s a tough situation trying to keep things focused with such a short turnaround. (But) I like the way our team has been playing lately.”

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