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Mesa-champ Eagles seek to extend season in CIF playoffs Phillip Brents | Fri, Nov 25 2011 04:21 PM

The Olympian High School football team has recorded some Olympic-sized victories this season, and veteran head coach Gil Warren would like to think the Eagles’ season isn’t quite over yet.

Olympian (7-3) will host the 11th-seeded Serra Conquistadors (4-7) on Friday, Nov. 25, in a San Diego Section Division III quarterfinal playoff game. Kick-off is 7 p.m.

The third-seeded Eagles will be seeking a victory over the Conquistadors to advance to the division semifinals on Thursday, Dec. 1.

The Division III title game is scheduled Dec. 5 at Qualcomm Stadium.

It will be a busy 11 days for whichever of the eight teams remaining in the division playoffs to amass three victories to emerge as this year’s CIF champion.

The Cathedral Catholic Dons are seeded first among Division III teams while the Dons’ arch-rival, the St. Augustine Saints, also with a 9-1 record, are seeded second.

How far can the Eagles soar? It’s an exciting possibility for the newly-crowned Metro-Mesa League champions.

“Our team is very proud of how we played in our league,” Warren said. “Now, though, it is a whole new ball game. In the playoffs anything can happen.”

That’s exactly what happened in last Friday’s first round match-up between underdog Serra and the sixth-seeded Kearny Komets in a game played at Madison High School.

The Komets entered the contest with an 8-2 record after capturing this year’s City Conference Central League title while the Conquistadors finished sixth (last place) in the City Conference Western League standings.

Serra, with a lot to prove to critics (and themselves) after finishing 0-5 in league play, emerged with a thrilling 22-21 upset victory.

“Serra came out and played inspired football and let Kearny beat themselves,” Warren cautioned. “Our job this week is to stick to the fundamentals and not have the turnovers and foolish penalties that cost you ball games. The kids have been working hard, so I hope we are ready for a good game.” 

Olympian finished 4-0 in Metro-Mesa play, with victories against three Division I teams (Eastlake, Otay Ranch and Chula Vista) and one Division II team (Bonita Vista). Overall, the Eagles carry a six-game winning streak into Friday’s quarterfinal contest.

Olympian’s strength is running the football to maintain ball control. The Eagles are averaging 198 rushing yards per game as opposed to 79 passing yards per game.

Five Olympian players have reached triple-digits in rushing yards this season, ledy by Ian Autman (801 yards, six touchdowns), Asante Gibson (368 yards, four touchdowns), Kevin Ehm (281 yards, four touchdowns) and Aikeem Foxworth (185 yards, two touchdowns).

Christopher Humphrey has passed for 590 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions.

Sergio Bailey leads the Eagles receiving corps with 25 catches for 288 yards and six TDs. Foxworth has 10 catches for 156 yards.

The Olympian defense complements the running attack. The Eagles have racked up 34 sacks this season, led by Devon Flores with 13.5. Olympian defenders also have 10 interceptions and 14 fumble recoveries to their credit.

Asante Gibson has three picks while Isaiah Gibson and Andrell Snowden each have two.

Extra points

Serra trailed Kearny, 21-13, before engineering its dramatic playoff victory by scoring the game’s final nine points — all in the fourth quarter.

Quarterback Hunter Correll completed 10 of 22 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns. He hit Matt Williams for an 11-yard score to boost the Conquistadors to an early 6-0 lead and later connected with Tiree Burton on a nine-yard scoring pass to trim the Komets’ lead to 14-13.

Williams later blocked a punt out of the end zone to make the score 21-15 on a two-point safety.  T.J. Williams scored the game-tying touchdown on a one-yard run with 5:14 left in the game. Kicker Kyler McLaughlin then booted the extra-point conversion to give Serra the upset victory.

T.J. Williams rushed 17 times for 83 yards to lead the Conquistadors, who totaled 178 yards on 38 carries in the game.

Correll is averaging 140 passing yards per game. He has thrown 12 touchdown passes this season but has been intercepted 13 times. Jahlil Johnson leads Serra with 867 rushing yards and has scored seven touchdowns.

Defensively, the Conquistadors have racked up 14 sacks, 10 interceptions and seven fumble recoveries.

Friday’s winner advances to play either second-seeded St. Augustine or seventh-seeded Mar Vista.

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