Well, we have finally reached the end of the CIF-SS football playoffs portion of the program. I’m not even sure what’s next. I heard there is a new Regional Playoff, followed by the State playoffs and then maybe a Universe Playoffs.
If there is a Universe Playoffs, then I vote that we send Carlos Arias to cover it.
The entire year has flown by, there were highlights, lowlights, upsets and head-scratching moments, but it was fun. So, sit back, relax and read this week’s Calhoun Countdown.
10. Time to wrap up the rushing race
Folks, it is with great pleasure that I introduce you to the 2012 OCVarsity Rushing champion: Jerry Saldivar of Los Amigos. Saldivar and Los Amigos didn’t play in the semifinals, but as I predicted in last week’s countdown, Saldivar would end up as the champion and that’s what he did. In the end, his 2,227 yards, proved to be just enough. Austin DeFreitas (Woodbridge) finished with 2,101 yards and Tustin’s Terence Martinez was third with 2,026. That’s a grand total of 201 yards separating the three. Congrats Saldivar. Unfortunately, your prize is hanging out with Carlos Arias.
9. Martinez defeats Martinez for scoring crown
As I pointed out last week, Drake Martinez had a slim lead over Tustin’s Terence Martinez in the race for the county touchdown crown. Drake Martinez finished with 34 touchdowns. Terence Martinez comes in at …. 36! It took the entire season, but someone finally caught and passed Drake Martinez. I didn’t think it could be done. This race was won in November. Terence Martinez scored 14 touchdowns in the month. Meanwhile, Drake Martinez scored seven. To honor both for their remarkable season, they get to hang out with Steve Fryer.
8. The quest to the best
It isn’t often that I save a spot in my countdown for a kicker. But Grif Amies is approaching an impressive record. Amies has 21 field goals this season. The state and national record is 22, set by former UCLA kicker Chris Sailer (Notre Dame/SO). Amies will look to either tie or break the record in Saturday’s CIF-SS Southern Division final against Garden Grove. I think you should get your tickets and see history being made.
Prediction: Amies sets the record, but who wins the game? stay tuned.
7. Looking for No. 400?
Allow me to interrupt this predominantly county countdown and talk about my new favorite running back: Jacob Taylor of Rim of the World. Taylor and company have advanced to the East Valley Division final, where they will host top-seeded Ontario Christian. In the semifinal, Taylor rushed for 377 yards against Banning and scored an eye-popping seven touchdowns. The funny thing is, his 377-yard performance is only his third-best of the season. Taylor has a 396-yard game and a 389-yard game. In fact, in two games against Banning, Taylor has rushed for 766 yards and scored 12 touchdowns. This week, Taylor is up against the undefeated Knights. Is Taylor saving the ultimate best for last?
Prediction: I’m not going against Taylor. 400-yard night and a victory for Rim of the World.
6. Defense wins championships ... or does it?
We have the ultimate defense vs. fffense battle in the Southern Division final. Corona del Mar, the top-seed and defending champion, hasn’t allowed a point since Nov. 2. That’s three consecutive shutouts for CdM. On the other side of the field, you have Garden Grove. The Argonauts are averaging 49 points a game during its current eight-game winning streak. To paraphrase ring announcer Michael Buffer …. Is this week, CdM’s 0 has got to go? Maybe not. Here are some numbers for you: Junior linebacker Alex Moore has 138 tackles. Sophomore lineman Hoyt Chance has seven sacks. Senior defensive end Tim Reinhardt has eight sacks and Ryan Griffin has four of CdM’s 13 interceptions. That’s why the Sea Kings haven’t allowed a point since Nov. 2. Garden Grove rushed for 313 yards in last week’s 35-21 victory over Laguna Beach. The Argonauts have scored 39 touchdowns on the ground, led by C.J. Del Real’s 18, but this team can also throw it. Quarterback Angel Martinez has completed 127 of 204 passes (62.3 percent) for 1,737 yards with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Garden Grove will need to use Martinez to keep the Sea Kings off balanced. Then, maybe, the Argonauts could be celebrating another CIF title.
Prediction: CdM, behind its strong defense, wins a second consecutive title
5. The new Southwest Division king ready to be crowned
Edison has been the top seed in the division for several months. The Chargers have backed up that ranking all season long. Last week, it was close to ending. Edison needed a late fourth-quarter touchdown to hold off Foothill, 22-16 in the semifinals. Sure the offense struggled, but that the Edison defense saved the day. Only one opponent (Mater Dei) scored at least 20 points against Edison this season and that came in the first half of that Sept. 21 game. The other 12 opponents have been held under 16 points or less, including Villa Park when the teams met earlier this season. In the first game (Sept. 6), Edison defeated Villa Park, 27-7. Villa Park hasn’t lost since. The Spartans are currently on a 10-game winning streak, with six of the victories by 10 points or less. If the game is there to be taken in the fourth quarter, then the Spartans usually find a way to grab it. Things begin for Villa Park behind its offensive line and the running of Meki Tafuna. Tafuna has five games of 150-yard or more, including a 181 and 190-yard performances in the playoffs. Tafuna gained just 64 yards in the first meeting against Villa Park. More importantly, quarterback Dylan Osborne completed just 5 of 16 passes for 53 yards. Balance will be the key for the Spartans. I expect this game to be a lot closer than the first. Villa Park will need to capitalize on its red zone opportunities and by that I mean scoring touchdowns.
Prediction: The pick here is Edison
4. Just like old times in the Pac-5
Mater Dei vs. Long Beach Poly. That’s as must-see as you can get in a CIF final. The Jackrabbits have surprised a lot of people on their playoff run, upsetting two of the top seeds (Mission Viejo and St. John Bosco) in the Pac-5. Mater Dei has been steady, but I think its defense turn some heads with last week’s 21-0 victory over top-seeded St. Bonaventure. This will be the fourth meeting in the finals between the programs. Poly won in 1997, Mater Dei in 1998 and in 1999, the teams finished in a 21-21 tie. This is Mater Dei’s first finals appearance since 2002. Poly was last in the finals in 2008 when it defeated Tesoro. Chase Forrest continues to shine in the playoffs. Last week, the junior quarterback completed 13 of 14 passes for 161 yards and one touchdown. In three playoff starts, Forrest has 9 touchdown passes and only one interception. Poly opened the season 1-3, which included a 56-0 beatdown at the hands of Narbonne. That game was in the midst of three-game losing streak that saw Poly get outscored by a combined score of 105-18. Things improved, like everyone knew it would, in the Moore League. Poly ran through the competition, allowing just 37 points. In the victory over St. John Bosco, Poly held the Braves to just 112 total yards. The Jackrabbits were able to get its ground game working, rushing for 219 yards. Mater Dei held St. Bonaventure to 64 yards rushing. This is a classic match-up. Mater Dei-Long Beach Poly. What else could you want?
Prediction: Mater Dei ... wins
3. Player to watch in the Southern Division final
Angel Martinez, Garden Grove. The junior quarterback leads the Argonauts into a difficult assignment against the defensive-minded Sea Kings.
2. Player to watch in the Southwest Division final
Dylan Osborne, Villa Park. The first outing against Edison, wasn’t a good one for Osborne. How will he fare this time around?
1. Player to watch in the Pac-5 Division final
JC Genova, Mater Dei. Genova will be around the ball all night. If the Monarchs are able to slow the Poly ground attack, then you can expect No. 25 to be one of the reasons.