Eagles make statement going into playoffs
The Santa Fe Christian Eagles (6-4,2-2) sent a message to future playoff opponents that both their offense and defense are primed. On Senior Day, November 14, the Eagles steamrolled their Costal League rival the Bishop’s School Knights (4-6,0-4) by the score of 35-14.
After scoring 57 points but giving up 51 the previous week against Horizon, the defense of the Eagles was outstanding.
“We challenged them defensively this week at practice,” said Head Coach Brian Sipe of his squad. “We wanted to know how bad our team wanted this game. Bishop’s is a well coached and disciplined team. Today we beat a good team. Give credit to our defensive line for taking their top runner Micah Seau (Junior’s nephew) out of his game.
“I think we deserve a home game in the playoffs,” Sipe added. “We are one of the top four teams in Div. IV.”
Two days later Sipe’s wish was granted as the CIF playoff-seeding committee seeded The Eagles No. 4. They are scheduled to face Coronado in a quarterfinal game on Friday, Nov. 28.
On the Eagles’ first possession of the first quarter last Thursday, they mounted a 10-play ground attack drive, with Eagles leading rusher Brice Heers carrying five times for 25 yards. Trent Von Yokes scored on a 15-yard run, and coupled with sure-footed Brock Miller’s point after, the Eagles were quickly up 7-0.
The rest of the quarter was a defensive tussle. Eagle Sam Hoekstra intercepted Bishop’s quarterback Joey Moreno’s pass, but Santa Fe Christian couldn’t capitalize on the turnover.
The start of the second quarter saw the Eagles engineer another time-consuming drive of 14 plays, with three consecutive fourth downs converted by the Eagles. Brice Heers, who carried eight times on the drive, capped it off with a 2-yard touchdown run. Miller’s kick made it 14-0.
“Brice is just tenacious,” said Sipe. “He never quits.”
After the Eagles stopped Bishop’s on their first possession in the third quarter, Sam Hoekstra broke off a 63-yard touchdown run to put the Eagles up 21-0.
Three plays later, Moreno was pressured by the Eagles defensive line and fumbled the ball. Eagle Ben Burke recovered and this time the Eagles did capitalize on the Knights turnover. Hoekstra scored his second touchdown on a 43-yard run and the Eagles were up 28-0.
Bishop’s finally got on the scoreboard as their freshman quarterback Moreno (who has thrown for over 1,000 yards this season) hooked up with running back Mike Jensen for a 36-yard score. Justin Peabody booted the PAT through the uprights to make it 28-7.
On the last play of the third quarter Santa Fe Christian came up with a razzle-dazzle pass play.
Quarterback Moore pitched the ball to Keaton Giannotti in the backfield. Giannotti looked like he was going to run a sweep, but he passed the ball downfield to teammate Michael Tomayko for a 53-yard touchdown strike.
“I called this play,” said Sipe, who was the NFL’s MVP in 1980, “Keaton Giannotti was our starting quarterback at the beginning of the season. But, Ryan Moore took over and Keaton became a wide receiver. I wanted to get Keaton more involved and it worked.”
Starting the fourth quarter with the Eagles well in command, Bishop’s got good field position via a 41-yard kickoff return by Mike Jensen. On the very next play, Moreno threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to Justin Peabody, who also kicked the successful point after to make it 35-14.
The Knights couldn’t move the ball on their next two possessions and on the Eagles’ final possession; they took a knee running out the clock, making the final, 35-14.
Leading the way for the Eagles was Sam Hoekstra with 10 carries for 131 yards and two scores. Brice Heers had 21 carries for 88 yards.
“We didn’t want to lose our last home game,” said Heers, a senior. “This was a tiring game, two back-to-back tiring games. Bishop’s is one of our rivals, and it was important that we won going into the playoffs.”
The Knights’ Micah Seau had 395 yards rushing coming into this game, but the Eagles defense held him to minus-3 yards.