EL CENTRO — The Southwest Eagles pounded the Centurions of University City, 44-20, in El Centro during the CIF Varsity Football Southern Section Division Four Quarter Final on Friday night.
Southwest’s defense pushed back University City on their first drive of the game, forcing a fourth down punt attempt that was blocked at the Centurion 27-yard line. The ball was recovered in the end-zone by Eagle defender (#40) Derek Guzman for the first points of the game, with the scoreboard reading 7-0 at the 9:41 mark in the first quarter.
With another defensive stop, and on their very next possession, a 46-yard breakaway by Eagles running back (#3) Tyler Saikhon brought his team all the way down to the Centurion goal-line. Saikhon would poke through from one yard to put the Eagles up 14-0.
With time winding down in the in the first period, University City gained a big chunk of yardage on a quarterback keeper by (#2) Casey Granfors along with a personal foul penalty that would move the ball from the Centurion 39-yard line to inside the Eagle red-zone.
University City took advantage of the prime field position to finish off the drive with a two-yard touchdown pass to running back (#24) Jayden Wickware, making it a one score game difference, 14-6, after a missed extra point to close out the first quarter.
The Eagles quickly responded on their next drive with a sweep to Saikhon, who cut the corner and dashed away for a 25-yard rushing touchdown to protect the lead, 21-6, minutes into the second period.
With 7:54 left in the first half University City used a mixed sequence of short runs and quick outs to set up a 19-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver (#1) Gavin Rasmussen to close the gap at 21-12, after another broken-up two point attempt.
Late in the second quarter and deep in their own territory, University City’s quarterback, under the duress of the relentless Eagle defense, was flagged for intentional grounding in the end-zone which resulted in a safety and two more points for Southwest 23-12.
On the ensuing drive Southwest utilized a series of grinding gains by full back (#7) Gio Camarena who polished off a one-yard run to take a 29-12 lead into halftime.
Big stops by both defenses prevented any scoring threats in the entire third quarter.
Southwest gained more ground with 9:39 left in the fourth quarter when Saikhon scored his third touchdown of the night on a 25-yard trot to paydirt, Eagle’s pulling away 36-12.
Feeling the sense of urgency, University City was able to bring the game back to within two scores, 36-20 at the 5:52 mark, after a 41-yard touchdown delivery to wide receiver (#3) Steven Weiss and a successful two-point-conversion.
Erasing any comeback narrative hopes, with 1:25 remaining in the game, Eagles running back (#87) Reece Quintero bulled in the last touchdown of the night to close out the game after a successful two point conversion 44-20.
The Eagles will host La Jolla Country Day in the Division 4 San Diego Southern Section Semi Final on Black Friday, November 25, at 7:00 p.m.
“We have to play a clean game with no turnovers. Our game plan is to play sound football and corral their quarterback,” commented Southwest head coach John Mitosinka about next week’s semi-final match-up.