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Olympian Eagles, Eastlake Titans seek to rev up engines after playoff bye week Phillip Brents | Fri, Nov 16 2012 03:26 PM

The behemoth Cathedral Catholic Dons may be out of the San Diego Section playoffs but the Olympian Eagles and Eastlake Titans have designs on advancing past Friday’s quarterfinals.

In a stunning development, the Dons — winners of the last five Division III championship titles — were forced to forfeit all 10 regular season games for use of an ineligible player. That dropped Cathedral from 8-2 to 0-10.

Section rules prohibit any team with three or more forfeits from participating in post-season play.
School administrators appealed the decision but section commissioner Jerry Schniepp upheld the CIF stance, citing rules, on Tuesday.

The Dons had been seeded second in this year’s Division III playoff bracket.

If the two-time Metro-Mesa League champion Eagles had been looking forward to a championship game rematch with Cathedral Catholic (the Dons won 41-0 last year at Qualcomm Stadium), they will have to seek another foe — if they advance that far.

Olympian coach Gil Warren said his team is focusing on the playoffs “one game at a time.” This Friday’s opponent for the top-seeded Eagles (10-0) is ninth-seeded Mt. Carmel (5-6).

The Sundevils defeated eighth-seeded Morse, 22-7, last Friday to advance.

“We have gotten better as the season has gone on but so have all the other teams,” Warren cautioned. “At this point, it doesn’t matter what you did during the regular season but what you can do now. It’s a one-and-done scenario.”

Still, Olympian has to be considered the favorite in Friday’s quarterfinal match-up. Warren said his team was “honored” to receive the division’s No. 1 seed.

“I thought that was a reward for our undefeated season,” Warren said. “We played some tough teams — Point Loma, El Camino, Lincoln — and then all the teams in the Mesa League ... We didn’t go undefeated with an easy schedule.”

The Eagles’ defense, however, certainly made it easier to roll to a perfect 10. Olympian out-scored its opponents 378-139.

The Metro-Mesa champions racked up 25 sacks, 18 interceptions, eight fumble recoveries and one blocked punt.

Omar Ruiz-Medellin leads Olympian with four sacks while Zac Norton tops the team with 125 total tackles. Rey Osuna is next with 114 tackles.

Andrell Snowden, the team’s standout two-way player, leads the team with seven picks. Offensively, he’s contributed with 955 rushing yards, 105 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns.

Receiver Sergio Bailey (37 catches, 759 yards) tops the Eagles with 13 TDs. Isaiah Gibson (33 carries, 342 yards) follows with eight touchdowns while Harrison Hulin (96 carries, 533 yards) has six TDs.

Quarterback Christopher Humphrey has passed for 1,291 yards with 18 touchdowns against just six picks. He’s thrown three scoring passes to twin brother Christein.

Robbie Halliburton led Mt. Carmel with two TDs last week. The Sundevil defense rose to the occasion with three picks and two sacks.

“They’re a better team than their record indicates,” Warren said.

Clash of the Titans
Eastlake, seeded No. 2 in the Division I bracket, will host 10th-seeded Torrey Pines, which handed Cathedral its only section loss this season. The Falcons (6-5) appear to be playing their best at the right time of the season after downing La Costa Canyon (24-17) and Escondido (42-7) in their last two games.

Chase Pickwell rushed for 191 yards on 10 carries and scored twice in last week’s playoff win at seventh-seeded Escondido. The Falcons rolled up 348 rushing yards and 480 yards in total offense.

That seems to match what the Titans (7-3) have done this season. Eastlake is averaging 386 total yards in offense per game, highlighted by an average of 261.9 rushing yards per game.

The Titans are a multi-faceted challenge to defend. Aaron Baltazar leads EHS with 1,241 rushing yards and a team-best 14 touchdowns. Isiah Olave (31 carries, 352 yards), Tavarus Green (55 carries, 320 yards), Isaiah Strayhorn (26 carries, 229 yards) and Jalen Mondane (24 carries, 206 yards) have combined to score 23 TDs.

Olave and Green each have scored nine times.

Joseph Carpizo tops the Titans with 16 catches for 330 yards and two TDs. First-year varsity QB Ty Stevens has passed for 1,132 yards and six scores but has been intercepted seven times.

The EHS defense has sparkled. Keifer Graham (104) and Blake Wilson (85) pace the team in total tackles. The Titan defense has collected 32 sacks, nine fumble recoveries and six interceptions.

Elijah Campbell (nine) and Wilson (eight) top the team in sacks while Stevens leads the team with three picks.

“We’re going to play a very good team,” EHS coach John McFadden said. “If we execute well and play well as a team, we’ll do well.”

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