Honor Bowl: Saturday Recap

Game MVPs Sam Richmond of Bellevue and John Houston of Gardena Serra got to know each other during the game since Houston probably tackled Richmond about "10 times" during the 2014 Honor Bowl. They also visited afterward while signing game balls. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Game MVPs Sam Richmond of Bellevue and John Houston of Gardena Serra got to know each other since Houston probably tackled Richmond about “10 times” during the 2014 Honor Bowl. They also visited afterward while signing game balls. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Serra of Gardena can’t do much against national powerhouse Bellevue of Washington and falls in the final game of a tripleheader played Saturday at Oceanside’s Simcox Field. The earlier games were closer, however, as Cathedral Catholic topped Oaks Christian and Corona Centennial outlasted Orange Lutheran.

Note: For the complete new state rankings with writeups on every team and longer list of bubble teams, that post will be for Gold Club members only. Please sign up to get your Gold Club pass today. For info, CLICK HERE.

For Friday Honor Bowl recaps, CLICK HERE ; For recaps of Honor Bowl games played in NorCal last week, CLICK HERE for Friday games or CLICK HERE for Saturday games.

Bellevue (Wash.) 31, Serra (Gardena) 14

It was a little more than 10 years ago to the day when the Bellevue of Washington football team created national attention with a 39-20 win at Qwest Field in Seattle over California’s De La Salle of Concord, thus snapping the Spartans’ legendary national record win streak at 151 games.

The Wolverines of head coach Butch Goncharoff are in the midst of a significant win streak themselves these days and the Cavaliers certainly were no match for it on either side of the ball. With the win Saturday, Bellevue improved its current win streak to 55 games.

While some on the sidelines speculated that Serra All-American linebacker John Houston might have had 20 tackles, many of them were after Bellevue ball carriers had broken five yards or further down the field. Justus Rogers was the ringleader of the Bellevue offense and was able to pull the ball out of one back’s belly and then put in another’s as expertly as some of the best QBs the program has had in recent years.

Caleb Wilson is a 6-foot-5, 215-pound senior quarterback for the Cavaliers. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Caleb Wilson is a 6-foot-5, 215-pound senior quarterback for the Cavaliers. Photo: Mark Tennis.


Sam Richmond did the dirty work on the inside tackle plunges for the Wolverines and scored three touchdowns. He also rushed for 72 yards on 21 carries.

Richmond hit pay dirt for his first score to culminate Bellevue’s first series on a five-yard run. He also capped a similar drive in the second quarter with a four-yard TD.

Serra’s defense stopped Bellevue’s second and third series while the offense reached deep into enemy territory on a 23-yard run by Darrion Naylor and on a 39-yard pass from Caleb Wilson to Tyron Johnson. Neither drive ended in touchdowns, however, as the Cavs settled for field goals by Erick Escamilla.

The key to the win for Bellevue was a sequence late in the first half. After Richmond’s second TD, Serra was forced to punt and the Wolverines scored with just 7.8 seconds left in the quarter to take a 21-6 halftime lead. Christoph Hirota got the TD for Bellevue on a seven-yard run.

Gerald McGinty prevented Serra’s offense from not scoring a touchdown when he raced around the left end for a seven-yard score with 6:57 left. Bellevue immediately quashed any comeback hopes, however, when Isaiah Gilchrist ran 38 yards to the two-yard line to set up Richmond’s third score of the game. Gilchrist ended with seven carries for 91 yards.

Serra entered the game at No. 7 in the State 25 rankings by Cal-Hi Sports and it’s hard to tell whether the margin of defeat will be too much for the Cavs to stay in the top 10. Regardless, the loss revealed more rough spots than Serra had last season when the team went 13-1 and shows they have work to do to be near the top of their new league this season, which has others such as Alemany, Chaminade, Bishop Amat, Loyola, Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks and Crespi of Encino to worry about.

Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) 28, Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 21

This game was going to tell us something about more than just two teams that did battle in honor of U.S. Armed Forces members from around the country. This game was going to give a good indication of just how good the Folsom team that Cathedral Catholic lost to last week 55-10 might be, and perhaps, how good the CIF Central Section’s top teams are in comparison to the state’s best units.

Currie Thomason's running resulted in Cathedral Catholic's first two scores during 28-21 win on Saturday over Oaks Christian. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Currie Thomason’s running resulted in Cathedral Catholic’s first two scores during 28-21 win on Saturday over Oaks Christian. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Considering Cathedral Catholic lost by a large margin to Folsom, and just last night the Bulldogs defeated Clovis North of Clovis, 49-13, it looks the CIF Central Section will have an uphill battle to compete for CIF Open or Division I state titles. This rings even more true considering the Bakersfield team that Oaks Christian lost to last week, 34-21, was just upset by unranked Edison of Fresno, 15-14.

As for Folsom, it indeed may have its best team since winning the CIF Division II state title in 2010 behind Mr. Football Dano Graves. For Cathedral Catholic, Saturday’s Honor Bowl game was a good bounce-back victory and perhaps the loss to Folsom wasn’t that bad after all for a team that hopes to be a contender for a top seed in the CIF San Diego Section Open Division playoffs.

The difference in Saturday’s game was the play of Cathedral Catholic junior RB Currie Thomason and big plays by the Dons’ LB Tyson Maeva and DL Trevor Bloom in the fourth quarter.

With the score tied 14-14 with 11:41 remaining, Maeva picked off Oaks Christian QB Holden Thomas (29-of-46 passing, 283 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception) near midfield and returned it to the Oaks Christian 21-yard line. Cathedral Catholic (1-1) capitalized on the turnover when Thomason scored on a seven-yard run. It was Thomason’s third touchdown of the game, and he finished the game with 72 yards rushing. Cathedral Catholic gained 185 yards on the ground, according to the Ventura County Star.

Thomason’s three-yard run tied the game at 14-14 with 1:22 remaining in the third quarter. His first score, a blast up the middle from nine yards out, tied the score at 7-7 with 1:15 remaining in the first quarter.

Senior RB Carter Hamilton of Cathedral Catholic scored what turned out to be the winning touchdown on a five-yard jaunt with 2:28 remaining. Carter also had a big 14-yard run earlier in the drive.

Oaks Christian (0-2) tied the game on a short touchdown pass reception over the middle by WR Michael Pittman (9 catches, 92 yards), arguably the Lions’ most impressive player, from Thomas with 6:02 remaining. The Lions got down to Cathedral Catholic’s 37-yard line on their final drive looking to tie the game, but the Dons snuffed out the drive when Thomas was hit from behind by Boston College-bound Ray Smith and fumbled the ball. Bloom recovered near midfield to clinch San Diego’s third win at the SoCal portion of the 2014 Honor Bowl.

“We knew were going to see an unbelievable team in Oaks Christian,” Cathedral Catholic coach Quinn Early said. “I’m very proud of the way our team played. In fact, I’m proud of both teams because this event is for a good cause.”

Cathedral Catholic’s victory meant CIF San Diego Section teams went unbeaten at the event following wins by Helix and Oceanside on Friday. The Dons will look to keep the positive momentum going against Torrey Pines of Del Mar next. Oaks Christian, which falls to 0-2 for the first time ever under coach Bill Redell, will look regroup against Venice.

Collecting hardward for Centennial after its win over Orange Lutheran were running back J.J. Taylor (MVP) and offensive lineman Sid Acosta (Character Counts). Photo: Mark Tennis.

Collecting hardware for Centennial after its win over Orange Lutheran were running back J.J. Taylor (MVP) and offensive lineman Sid Acosta (Character Counts). Photo: Mark Tennis.


Centennial (Corona) 52, Orange Lutheran 49

Although it was only the second game of the season, coming in it felt like a must-win for Centennial. The Huskies didn’t want to begin their season 0-2, not in their first season in the CIF Southern Section’s vaunted Pac-Five Division and with its daunting non-league schedule.

With Centennial (1-1) leading 21-20 at halftime, both clubs began the second half by trading touchdowns and it seemed the team with the ball last might win the game. The difference turned out to be the play of Centennial junior RB J.J. Taylor and the Huskies’ defense getting one important stop inside their own red zone at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

With 8:36 remaining and his team leading 42-34, Taylor set up a 19-yard field goal by Jake Perez with a 33-yard punt return. The field goal made the score 45-34, but Orange Lutheran (1-1) made things interesting when Austin Liles hauled in a two-point conversion following a 9-yard touchdown by J.D. Pickett to make the score 45-42.

We always attempt to get flags in the background in these post-game shots and got one when Orange Lutheran standout Patrick Reardon was doing a video interview. Photo: Mark Tennis.

We always try to get flags in the background in these post-game shots and got one when Orange Lutheran’s Patrick Reardon was doing a video interview. Photo: Mark Tennis.


On the next series, Orange Lutheran had Centennial on the ropes and its faithful was rocking in the stands right before the snap on a 3rd & 10 from the Huskies’ 21-yard line with 2:50 remaining. Taylor, however, stunned the crowd and gave Centennial just enough cushion to close the deal when he took a lateral 79 yards for a touchdown and 10-point lead.

Taylor finished with 22 carries for 266 yards and two touchdowns,including a 63-yarder in the third quarter. Taylor also recovered the onside kick after the Lancers made the score 52-49 following a 10-yard touchdown run by Elijah Bynum with 30 seconds remaining.

“I was very disappointed with what happened (last week),” said Centennial head coach Matt Logan, referring to the 38-18 loss to Mater Dei of Santa Ana. “A lot of it was missed execution. It was better today. Hopefully, it’s something we can improve on as well.”

Centennial’s difficult schedule will continue next week in Las Vegas against national powerhouse Bishop Gorman with Long Beach Poly following.

“Normally, we play a ton of preseason games against teams from around the state all the time,” Logan added. “But these first two weeks this is against teams from our (CIF Southern Section) division.”

Centennial rotated quarterbacks between Anthony Catalano and Nate Ketteringham. Centennial finished with 643 total yards, according to Eric-Paul Johnson of the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

For Orange Lutheran, RB Patrick Reardon finished with 164 yards rushing on 19 carries with two touchdowns. QB L.J. Northington threw for three touchdowns and was effective running the offense. Centennial out-gained Orange Lutheran in total yardage, 643-543.

Both teams were a bit porous on defense and will need to improve to make any dent in the Pac-Five playoffs. For Lutheran, it will be a grind just to qualify for the postseason as part of the Trinity League. The Lancers will look to regroup next week versus Yorba Linda.

Centennial has been to a CIF state or regional bowl game five of the last six years, but its road to a section title will be more difficult than ever.

Centennial has improvements if it wants to get to the CIF bowl game level this season, but it’s always easier to regroup and shore up the weaknesses after a victory rather than a defeat.

Ronnie Flores in the managing editor of CalHiSports.com. Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports


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