Eagles soar to victory

Santa Fe Christian opened a new era with a nonleague victory on Sept. 4, trouncing Mater Dei Catholic of Chula Vista 53-6 in Nick Ruscetta’s first game as the team’s head coach.

The Eagles excelled on both sides of the ball and on special teams.

Sam Hoekstra rushed for 70 yards on six carries and scored two touchdowns, one receiving and the other on special teams, to lead the Eagles.

Hoekstra returned the opening second half kickoff 90 yards, triggering a 33-point third-quarter outburst that secured Ruscetta a victory in his Eagles debut.

Ruscetta, a longtime Eagles assistant and former head coach at Escondido High, earlier this year took over the program from former coach Brian Sipe. A former NFL quarterback with the Cleveland Browns, Sipe took the quarterbacks coaching job at his alma mater, San Diego State.

The Eagles ran the same ground-oriented Delaware wing-T offense they did under Sipe, going to the airwaves on just four of their 38 offensive plays in the game.

Travis Berglund rushed for 62 yards on four carries, highlighted by a 45-yard scoring run.

Eagles quarterback Keaton Gianotti completed two of four pass attempts for 43 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also scored on a run from the 6.

The Eagles defense was heavily involved in the scoring, too.

Defensive back Jared Watson-Lewis scored on a 98-yard interception return with just over four minutes left in the third quarter.

Then, for good measure, linebacker Trent Von Yokes returned a fumble 24 yards for an Eagles touchdown on the last play of the third quarter.

Joshua Estill led the Eagles with eight tackles, and Connor Moore had seven tackles.

Watson Lewis and Berglund each added six tackles, and Kurt Luedtke contributed five tackles and had one sack.

Cathedral returns with win

Cathedral Catholic opened the season with a new look but familiar results.

The Dons broke open a close game in the fourth quarter, scoring three unanswered touchdowns in a 27-7 nonleague victory over Steele Canyon on Sept. 4.

The Dons, whose heavy graduation losses included Tyler Gaffney, one of the most prolific running backs in recent San Diego County history, saw a new face step up at the most opportune of times.

Junior running back Johnny Martin rushed for 177 yards and four touchdowns on 22 carries to lead the Dons, who won their 22nd consecutive game going back to 2007 – a stretch that includes a Div. II state title and two San Diego Section Div. III titles.

The Dons trailed 7-6 going into what turned out to be a decisive fourth quarter, when Martin erupted for four touchdowns to put the game out of reach.

Martin scored the game’s first touchdown on a 37-yard run in the first quarter that gave the Dons a 6-0 lead after a missed extra point.

Steele Canyon scored later in the first quarter to take a 7-6 lead it would not relinquish until the fourth quarter, when Martin scored on runs from the 6-, 2- and 10-yard lines.

Alumni report: Gaffney made his collegiate debut at Div. I Stanford University, rushing twice for eight yards in a 39-13 Cardinal route of Washington State in a Pacific 10 Conference opener for both teams.