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Small schools have big football dreams Phillip Brents | Fri, Sep 21 2012 12:02 PM

The face of the San Diego Section’s lowest enrollment divisions keeps changing. Some might prefer to call it fine-tuning rather than re-shuffling.

But when dealing with enrollment levels of less than 100 students in many cases, trying to create a competitive balance in league play remains a challenge.

This year, three South County schools are fielding football teams either at the Division V or 8-man levels.

Chula Vista Calvary Christian Academy, with a student enrollment of 82, remains at the 11-man level. Meanwhile, Ocean View Christian Academy, with 79 students, has returned to 8-man play this season, joining Lutheran (86 students).

Who’s on top?

Calvary Christian Academy is playing in the restructured Citrus League alongside San Pasqual Academy, Classical Academy, Julian and Borrego Springs.

Classical Academy has the largest student enrollment (475), followed by Julian (168), Borrego Springs (149), San Pasqual Academy (111) and Calvary (82).

SPA was invincible at the 8-man level before becoming somewhat more mortal after moving up to the 11-man level.

Both CCA (3-0) and SPA (2-0) are off to unbeaten starts among Citrus teams while Classical is 1-1 and both Julian and Borrego Springs sport 1-2 records.

How competitive the revamped circuit is will be determined when league play kicks off on Oct. 12. The Chula Vista school will be out to prove that good things do indeed come wrapped in small packages.

Calvary Christian Academy meets Julian in its league opener. Julian picked up its first victory of 2012 by defeating visiting Lutheran, 34-10, last Friday.

The Royal Knights’ strength of schedule will build from there. Calvary Christian hosts Borrego Springs (Oct. 19) and Classical (Oct. 25) in a pair of games at Olympian High School before closing out regular season play with a road match-up at SPA (Nov. 2).

The Royal Knights expect to face their toughest challenge on the young season when they travel to Mountain Empire on Friday. It’s a match-up of Division V enrollment teams and much is on the line — particularly respect on the part of the Chula Vista school.

The Redhawks are coming off lopsided victories against L.A. Douglass (46-0) and Anza Hamilton (42-7) after kicking off their season with a 34-0 setback to Horizon Christian.

Calvary Christian Academy’s start has been behemoth by any standard. The Royal Knights topped Las Vegas Calvary Chapel Christian, 37-22, to win their season opener on Aug. 25 before devouring their next two non-league foes: Lake Mead Academy (47-0 on Sept. 8) and the San Diego Jewish Academy (46-3 on Sept. 13).

Calvary Christian Academy will play eight Division V opponents in 2012, meaning the Royal Knights will determine their own playoff fate. That has to be an exciting prospect for head coach Gene Rheam’s team.

So far, the Royal Knights have been up to the challenge.

Trace Scheckel has passed for 261 yards and five touchdowns with just one interception.

Calvary Christian Academy is averaging 293 rushing yards per game, led by Justin Harrison (570 yards, eight TDs). Scheckel also has two rushing scores.

Louie Rodriguez (seven catches, 201 yards) ranks second on the team with six touchdowns (four receiving).

Harrison and Edgar Herrera top the Royal Knights defense with 19 tackles each while Tony Madrid has a team-leading three sacks.

Scheckel threw three touchdown passes against SDJA while Harrison rushed for 201 yards and scored once. Rodriguez led the Royal Knights with three TDs — two receiving and one rushing.

Jose Rocha (receiving) and Justin Santa Maria (rushing) also scored one touchdown apiece for Calvary Christian.

The Royals Knights’ defense took away the Lions’ roar by recording five interceptions and two sacks. Harrison, Rodriguez, Rocha, Santa Maria and Gustave Lizarraga each had picks.

Sacks went to Madrid and Nathan Bellama. SDJA managed just 38 rushing yards.

Against Lake Mead, Calvary rushed for 269 yards (183 by Harrison to go with four TDs) while collecting one interception, one sack and two fumble recoveries.

Ocean View, Lutheran, Warner Springs and St. Joseph Academy comprise this year’s Sunset League. Ocean View is 2-1 while Warner is off to a 1-1 start, followed by St. Joseph (0-2) and Lutheran  (0-3).

All four schools boast enrollments of less than 100 students. St. Joseph has a student enrollment of 62, followed by Warner with 56.

Ocean View looks to be the strongest of the bunch after topping visiting Borrego Springs, 30-6, last Friday. Quarterback Andres Perez rushed for one score and passed for another while Josh Smith finished the game with three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving).

Smith entered the game with 252 rushing yards in his first two games.

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