EL CENTROÂ â€” The Southwest Eagles pounded the Centurions of University City, 44-20, in El Centro duringÂ the CIF Varsity Football Southern Section Division Four Quarter Final on Friday night.
Southwestâ€™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 Cityâ€™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, Eagleâ€™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.
â€œWe have to play a clean game with no turnovers. Our game plan is to play sound football and corral their quarterback,â€ commented Southwest head coach John Mitosinka about next weekâ€™s semi-final match-up.