What a difference a week made for the Santa Fe Christian Eagles (1-1). After their opening season loss to a very good La Jolla Vikings football team last Saturday, the Eagles rebounded at home Sept. 13, dominating the Palo Verde Yellow Jackets (1-1), 55-26.
"This was an important game for us," said Eagle Head Coach Brian Sipe. "We went back to the basics at practice last week - stressing the fundamentals and correcting the mistakes of last week. Plus we were hungrier."
The Eagles started the game with an impressive 11-play, 6-minute drive, capped off by Sam Hoekstra's 21-yard touchdown run. Surefooted kicker Brock Miller made it 7-0 with his point-after.
The Yellow Jackets came right back though, with an Aaron Quintanilla 90-yard kickoff return for a score.
"All week long, Aaron Quintanilla had a bulls-eye on his back in our scouting plans," said Sipe. "After we scored our TD, what happens? - Aaron has a 90-yard kickoff return. After that we stopped kicking the ball his way."
Palo Verde's 2-point conversion try was no good as the Eagles led 7-6. But that would be the closest the Yellow Jackets came all day.
Still in the first quarter, after the Eagle defense forced the Yellow Jackets to punt, a bad snap gave them great field position on the Palo Verde 23-yard line. Four plays later Eagle Quarterback Keaton Giannotti threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Travis Berglund and coupled with Miller's PAT, the Eagles went up 14-6.
Again the Eagle defense came up big starting the second quarter, giving the offense another shot at the end zone. Sam Hoekstra broke off a 30-yard run during the drive and teammate Brice Heers scored on a 3-yard plunge. Miller again was successful: 21-6 Eagles.
The top-notch defense continued as Eagle linebacker Mason Butts intercepted Eric Sosa's pass, giving Santa Fe Christian the ball on the Yellow Jackets' 3-yard line. The next play, Trever Boucher bulled his way in from three yards out. Miller's kick attempt was blocked making the score 27-6.
Palo Verde finally made its initial first down in the second quarter, but the Eagles clamped down taking over on an unsuccessful fourth down attempt.
Giannotti on a QB-keeper, chewed up a gain of 30 yards, bringing the Eagles to first and goal on the Yellow Jackets' 10-yard line. Sam Hoekstra scored on a 10-yard run, plus Miller's kick made it 34-6.
After the Yellow Jackets got their second first down, the Eagles' defense forced them to punt on fourth down. With a bad snap and short punt, the Eagles got some good field position. It took one play, a 51-yard pass from Keaton Giannotti to Sam Hoekstra (his third touchdown of the game) to score. The route was on - 41-6 at the half.
Sipe used all his players during the contest. Ryan Moore came in to quarterback for the Eagles in the third quarter and moved the team well, scoring on a keeper of three yards. The PAT made it 48-6.
A Trent Von Yakes 13-yard run upped the score to 55-6 and Palo Verde responded with a nine-play scoring drive capped by a 34-yard scoring throw from Sosa to Aaron Quintanilla. Also Sosa's pass to Cole Krisell was good for the 2-point conversion - 55-14 at the end of three quarters.
The Yellow Jackets scored twice in the last quarter both on long passes from Sosa to Quintanilla, but it was too little too late as the Eagles cruised to their first win of the year.