Lions exceed expectations in their inaugural season


  • San Diego Jewish Academy's first-year coach John Milisitz didn't quite know what to expect when he took over the program earlier this year.

His players didn't quite know what to expect in their 11-man inaugural season either.

After seamless transitions, the upstart Lions and their coach have already exceeded everyone's expectations.

Now they're playing with house money.

The Lions earned their first football postseason berth in school history after trouncing San Pasqual Academy of Escondido 27-0 in a Southern League game on Nov. 12.

The Lions improved to 6-2 overall for the season and 5-2 in league to finish in third place. They are the No. 12 seed in the San Diego Section Div. V playoffs and will face Tri-City Christian of Vista on Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m. at El Camino High of Oceanside.

"When I took this job, if you'd have told me we'd make the playoffs, I'd have been very happy," Milisitz said. "It's definitely not something we expected, but we've had a really good year."

Lions quarterback Joseph Mizrachi led his team on both sides of the ball to spearhead the victory.

Mizrachi was 10-for-13 passing for 164 yards with two touchdowns, and rushed for 132 yards and two scores.

He was a factor on defense too, with 11 tackles and one interception.

Jordan Sharf rushed for 144 yards on 12 carries and Rafi Lurie caught five passes for 74 yards and one touchdown.

Defensive standout Ricky Pemensky had 10 tackles and two sacks, and Kevin Yedid made eight tackles.

  • Santa Fe Christian defeated Bishop's of La Jolla 40-15 in a Coastal North League finale for both teams on Nov. 13.

The Eagles improved to 9-1 overall for the season and 3-1 in league, finishing in second place.

SFC quarterback Keaton Giannotti was involved in four touchdowns to lead the Eagles.

Joshua Estill led a dominant Eagles defense that combined for 83 tackles and three sacks.

Estill made 18 tackles and Connor Moore contributed 15 tackles.

  • Defending Div. II state champion and two-time defending San Diego Section Div. III champion Cathedral Catholic got a final tuning for the postseason as the Dons concluded regular season play with a 55-14 Eastern League thrashing of Scripps Ranch on Nov. 13.

The Dons improved to 9-1 overall for the season and 4-1 in league, finishing in a two-way tie for first place with Mira Mesa of San Diego.

Dons quarterback Max Brewer was 5-for-8 passing for 123 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.


  • Torrey Pines made quick work of Otay Ranch of Chula Vista with a 3-0 (25-8, 25-22, 25-15) sweep in a San Diego Section Div. I quarterfinal match on Nov. 13.

Frannie Cormier and Katie Dutchman each had nine kills to lead the Falcons, and setter Jenny Woolway had 28 assists.

The Falcons improved their overall record for the season to 24-8.

  • Cathedral Catholic breezed past Santana of Santee 3-0 (25-5, 25-7, 25-7) in a Div. III quarterfinal on Nov. 13.

Kelly Reeves had 16 kills to lead the Dons and Taylor Milton added 14 kills. Dons setters Jaclyn Williamson and Rachel Oemcke had 16 and 10 assists, respectively.



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