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Mater Dei, Sweetwater go up 1-0 in Metro-Pacific League banner chase Phillip Brents | Fri, Nov 04 2011 01:54 PM

It didn’t take long for the top challengers for this year’s Metro-Pacific League football championship to step forward. They are the Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders and the Sweetwater Red Devils.

The teams are scheduled to meet in the final regular season match-up for both on Thursday, Nov. 10, in National City. But for that to hold up as the league championship game, both teams must get past their opponents this Friday.

Mater Dei, fresh off last Friday’s 28-20 victory against the visiting Montgomery Aztecs, will play at Castle Park, while Sweetwater, basking in the afterglow of last Friday’s 48-14 homecoming victory against visiting Castle Park, will travel to Montgomery.

A loss by either the Crusaders (1-0 in league, 6-2 overall) or the Devils (1-0, 4-4) would allow the Aztecs (0-1, 4-4) or the Trojans (0-1, 1-7) to get back into the championship race.

Montgomery will host Castle Park in the second annual Warrior Bowl on Nov. 10. Will that game instead stand up as the league’s championship tilt?

Fernando Gonzalez rushed for 136 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead Mater Dei Catholic against the Aztecs. The Crusaders built an imposing 28-7 halftime lead and weathered a late storm by the visitors, who put up 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.

Gonzalez scored on runs of 11, two and three yards. Cole Lewis, who rushed for 92 yards in the game, also scored on a one-yard run for the Crusaders.

Austin Morga scored on a seven-yard run in the first quarter to halve Mater Dei’s early lead to 14-7. Joel Castro jump-started Montgomery’s late rally on a one-yard scoring run, then Charles Williams tacked on a five-yard run. Williams led the Aztecs with 158 rushing yards.

The loss was the third straight for Montgomery after starting the season 4-1.

Kristian Garcia and Sal Nasser led Sweetwater by each scoring two touchdowns while Adrian Libsack, Justin Alcala and Edgar Ramirez each scored once.

Nasser passed for 105 yards and one TD while also rushing for 97 yards, including one marathon 61-yard scamper. Garcia rushed for 46 yards on 12 carries and also caught four passes for 52 yards.

Da Shey Wilson led the Devils — winners of three straight games — with 105 rushing yards on nine carries. Libsack had two catches for 30 yards.

Daniel Hernandez scored both TDs for Castle Park, which has now lost six straight games. Friday’s game also serves as homecoming for the Trojans.

Hernandez had 13 carries for 48 yards while Nicolas Rascon had three carries for 34 yards. Juan Luna had a productive outing with nine completions for 136 yards.

David Anderson had seven catches for 114 yards to lead the CP receiving corps.

Hernandez also led the Trojans with nine tackles.

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