By Gideon Rubin
Hunter Vaccaro was still in middle school the last time Santa Fe Christian won a state section title.
The athletic senior quarterback has since taken the Eagles to heights the perennially dominant program has never seen.
Vaccaro rushed for three touchdowns to lead led the Eagles to a 31-15 victory over Francis Parker in the San Diego Section Division V championship game on Nov. 30.
The victory gave the Eagles their first title since 2006, when they won the Division IV crown for their fifth championship in six years.
And the Eagles aren’t done.
The win puts the Eagles in rari state’s inaugural Regional Championship, and are two wins away from winning a state title.
The Eagles, who improved to 10-3 overall for the season with their eighth straight victory, will play Rio Hondo Prep of Arcadia (12-1) in a Division IV state championship semifinal on Friday (Dec. 7) at 7:30 p.m. at Del Norte High.
The winner of that game advances to the state championships, which will be held Dec. 14-15 at Home Depot Center in Carson for five separate divisions at times to be announced.
Santa Fe Christian is just the second team in Carmel Valley history to advance beyond the San Diego Section playoffs since the state championship’s inception in 2006. The other is Cathedral Catholic, which won the 2008 Division II state title.
Vaccaro rushed for scores from the 2 and the 4 in a first quarter in which the Eagles took a quick 21-7 lead that set the tone for the win.
Vaccaro’s 35-yard scoring run in the third quarter gave the Eagles a commanding 28-7 lead.
Vaccaro rushed for 110 yards on 15 carries. He also completed one of just two pass attempts for a 68-yard completion to Tony Miro.
Conor Keith was the Eagles’ leading rusher with 110 yards on 15 carries including a scoring run from the 2 in the first quarter.
Miro also rushed for 81 yards on 13 carries.
The Eagles extended their lead to 31-7 in the fourth quarter on Jake Bailey’s 29-yard field goal.
Darrian Borboa led the Eagles defensively with nine tackles and Troy Zarubin contributed six tackles and one sack.
Rio Hondo Prep upset Mission Prep of San Luis Obispo (11-2) 28-21 in the Southern Section finals on Nov. 30 to advance to the regional playoffs.
The Kares have won 10 straight games.
Cathedral Catholic got payback on the ultimate stage.
The Dons defeated Campolindo of Moraga 3-1 (23-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-21) to win the Division III state championship on Dec. 1 at UC Irvine.
The title match was a rematch of the 2010 championship Campolindo won 3-2 (27-25, 25-23, 21-25, 18-25, 15-10) at San Jose State.
Tatiana Durr had 18 kills and Kristen Witous had 17 kills to lead the Dons.
Dons setter Lauren Miller had 41 assists.
The Dons advanced to the state championships after defeating Rim of the World 3-0 (25-19, 25-9, 25-17) in a regional final on Nov. 27.