There they were on the same field together for the first time in three weeks and the magic that Diego Rodriguez and Manny Quiambao — and the rest of the Montgomery Aztecs, for that matter — summoned up last Friday for their San Diego Section Division III first-round playoff game against the visiting San Marcos Knights was powerful.
Rodriguez scored five touchdowns and Quiambao returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown to ignite the Aztecs’ dominating 44-7 victory.
It was the first home playoff win ever for Montgomery and only the second post-season victory since 1986.
“Diego Rodriguez and Manny Quiambao are a great one-two combination for us that we’ve been missing for a while,” Aztec head coach Julio Alcala said. “This was a great win not only for our team, but for our school and the rest of the South Bay in the post-season.”
The game was over for the North County visitors in the first quarter as the hosts took a 20-0 lead. Rodriguez scored Montgomery’s first five touchdowns — all in the first half as Montgomery bulldozed to a 34-0 lead.
Rodriguez, who hiked his season rushing total to 2,168 yards, scored on runs of 19, one and two yards in the first quarter and tacked on a 15-yard scoring run and one-yard TD in the second quarter. The Otay Mesa school’s all-time rushing leader enters Friday’s quarterfinal-round game against top-seeded St. Augustine (8-2) at Mesa College with 29 touchdowns on the season.
The eighth-seeded Aztecs (8-3) built a 40-0 lead before the ninth-seeded Knights (4-7) sored ona four-yard run by quarterback M.J. Bailey in the fourth quarter.
Armando Serna later booted a 19-yard field goal to close out scoring.
The unsung Montgomery defense set the tone throughout the contest. Robert Smith had two interceptions while three players each had fumble recoveries.
The hosts were presented with a short field on offense throughout the game. Rodriguez amassed just 103 yards on 20 carries while Quiambao had five carries for 141 rushing yards, including marathon jaunts of 62 and 68 yards..
Evan Crower leads St. Augustine with 1,836 passing yards and 25 touchdowns. Both he and Rodriguez are finalists for this year's Silver Pigskin award.
The Saints are also keyed by kicker Seamus McMorrow, who has booted seven field goals, including a section record-tying 58-yarder.
Pointers shock Mariners in CIF D-3 playoff opener
True to form in the opening round of the San Diego Section football playoffs, there were upsets galore last Friday. A total of six road teams experienced deliriously happy bus rides home in the total of 20 games played in the five enrollment divisions.
The Point Loma Pointers counted themselves among that group after abrubtly ending the season for the Metro-South Bay League champion Mar Vista Mariners. The Pointers (8-3) beat the hosts at their own game — ball control — to stride off the field with a 21-7 Division III victory.
Mar Vista, which had been riding a six-game winning streak, finished the season 7-4.
Pointer quarterback Sean McKaveney threw two touchdown passes and rushed for another. Key third-down conversions kept Point Loma scoring drives alive.
Justin Peoples scored on a three-yard run to half the Mariners’ deficit to 14-7 at halftime. But the hosts were stopped cold in the rushing departmet in the second half, generating just one net yard, after leading the section with 410.5 rushing yards per game.
Mar Vista finished the game with 153 rushing yards. Standout Rommel Cooper gained just 36 yards before leaving the game early.