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DAVID BRO, DAVID BRO, FILE PHOTO
Saddleback Valley's David Molina leads a pack of Calvary Chapel defenders as he starts a nearly 60-yard kick return in a home game in October.<137>leaving his team a play away of scoring a touchdown midway through the first half on Friday evening. ///ADDITIONAL INFO: 06.hs.cavanagh.1003.db.JPG - 10/2/15 - PHOTO BY DAVID BRO, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER --- Saddleback Valley hosted Calvary Chapel in boys' varsity football on Friday evening at San Juan Hills High School in San Juan Capistrano<137>.

Molina wouldn't let SVC fall apart

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Cohesion and continuity can be important to a team’s success. But a different story has been unfolding at Saddleback Valley Christian.

For the last three years, the Warriors football team has learned to adapt and adjust.

Senior David Molina has played for a different coach in each of the last three seasons. He played for Justin Reber his sophomore year. Brian Pearsall led the team to an undefeated regular season and a semifinals appearance in Molina’s junior campaign.

More changes came after last season, as Pearsall left to join Servite’s coaching staff.

“Hearing the news that (Pearsall) was going off to Servite, I felt like I was just in that spot (of facing a coaching change),” Molina said. “It was super hard for us as a team ...”

Molina said the Warriors could have easily fallen apart.

“Thank God our seniors came together as a team and were able to lead,” he said.

This season, Molina is playing for SVC alum Brendan Chambers, who was a three-sport athlete for the Warriors from 2004-2008.

The new coach and the motivated seniors have led the team to the best season in the program’s history.

The Warriors are 14-0 and last week claimed the CIF-SS East Valley Division championship, the school’s first CIF-SS football title.

“I am super glad to be a part of this team because it has been my dream since I was a kid to get a ring,” Molina said.

The Warriors were somewhat disappointed in how they won the title - Grace Brethren had to forfeit the championship game because it had played an ineligible player during the season - but they are excited about an opportunity to continue their season in the CIF State playoffs.

The Warriors have a chance to pursue a state title when they play Kennedy of Delano tonight in the CIF-SS Division 5A Regional at Laguna Hills High. The game starts at 7:30.

Molina has been a big part of the team’s success this season, showing his ability to adjust to changing circumstances. At 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, he has played running back and receiver on offense, garnering 24 touchdowns.

In the East Valley semifinal victory against Crean Lutheran, he filled in at quarterback due to an injury to Cade Henjum until an ankle injury forced Molina out of the game. (Chambers says both Molina and Henjum are expected to start tonight.)

Molina also starts in on defense. He has racked up 50 tackles and six interceptions, including one of the team’s four picks in a quarterfinal win over St. Margaret’s.

“He’s been our lockdown corner and safety,” Chambers said of Molina. “You can move him to linebacker. He’s played all over the field for us.

“It’s nice having a guy playing free safety where you know he is going to make a tackle.”


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