The Patriots (13-0) match up with St. Margaret’s of San Juan Capistrano (14-0) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Granite Hills High. The game will be broadcast on Time Warner Cable throughout Southern California. For more on St. Margaret’s, CLICK HERE.
By Devin Ugland
Special to CalHiSports.com
Head coach: Matt Oliver (15th season, 130-54-2 overall)
Section: The Patriots won the CIF San Diego Section Division III championship, 31-9, over Hoover – their second consecutive SD Section Division III title – which was won last year, 19-7, over San Marcos.
League: Won the Central League (3-0)
Cal-Hi Sports bowl game ranking: No. 1 (Division IV South)
CIF Bowl History: El Cajon Christian is playing in its first CIF bowl game.
Best Win: The Patriots are yet another team that blew through its non-league and league schedules virtually untested. But the Patriots stepped up twice in the play-offs when it was gut-check time. They escaped La Jolla, 42-38, in the first round of the CIF-SD Section Division III playoffs and followed that up with a 25-20 win over Morse in the semifinals, scoring a touchdown with 17 seconds left to ensure the victory.
Key Players: QB David Todd Jeremiah (6-1, 195, Jr.), RB Adrian Petty (5-7, 153, Jr.), RB/ILB Joey Morones (5-11, 220 Soph.), WR Nick Sexton (6-1, 167, Jr.), WR/DB Trevor Howell (6-1, 150, Sr.), WR Brandon Hester (6-0, 178, Jr.), TE/ILB Chad Humphries (5-9, 190, Sr.), DE Cody Kirwan (5-10, 160, Sr.), OLB/DE Hunter Arvan (6-0, 170, Sr.), DB Ethan Contreras (5-10, 142, Soph.), DB J.D. Parker (5-8, 124, Sr.).
General Offense: El Cajon Christian is one of few high school teams you will see using the traditional single-back, under-center, pro-style offense. The Patriots have a good pocket-passing quarterback in David Todd Jeremiah (goes by D.T. Jeremiah). The junior is 180-for-258 through the air (69.8 completion percentage) for 2,670 yards with 31 TDs to just four interceptions. His favorite targets are jun-ior Nick Sexton and senior Trevor Howell. Sexton has 52 receptions for 926 yards and nine TDs. Howell has 45 catches for 648 yards and nine TDs. Tight end Chad Humphries serves as Jeremiah’s security blanket. The senior has 26 catches for 533 yards and nine scores. The Patriots have a duo of underclassmen at the running back position that serve as a one-two-punch. Junior Adrian Petty is the main back with 1,996 yards and 28 TDs on 180 carries. Sophomore Joey Morones is the more stout back, used for short-yardage and goal-line carries, and has run it 80 times for 469 yards and 15 TDs on the year.
General Defense: The El Cajon Christian defense is a 4-4 base anchored by Mo-rones – the sophomore inside linebacker – who leads the team in tackles with 76. The Patriots use Cody Kirwan as both a defensive end and outside linebacker which has resulted in a team-leading 13 tackles for a loss. Hunter Arvan will line up opposite Kirwan and he’s picked up 51 tackles and four sacks on the season. Trevor Howell leads the secondary with four picks on the year. Cornerback Ethan Contreras, another corner, J.D. Parker, and inside linebacker Chad Humphries all have three interceptions this season.
Key Injuries: Wide receiver Nick Sexton has been in a walking boot all week due to a small broken bone in his foot. He played with it last week and he will play with it again this week.
The Skinny: Patriots coach Matt Oliver said that the matchup against St. Marga-ret’s will be different than any other his team has faced so far in the playoffs. While El Cajon Christian played bigger and more physical public school teams through-out the CIF-San Diego Section Division III playoffs, he believes that St. Marga-ret’s is one of the more disciplined teams the Patriots will see all year. Oliver is definitely worried about St. Margaret’s running back Oscar Gomez, but also stressed the need to keep Nick Shanks at bay when it comes to special teams.
Devin Ugland covers USC men’s basketball and football for TrojanSports.com. He has previously written for the Orange County Register, Long Beach Press-Telegram and Daily Pilot. You can reach him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @Devin_Ugland.