CIF Southern Section Div. 7, round one – San Jacinto edged out La Quinta 30-20
■ By Corey Evan / Reporter
A lot can happen in 23 years; four presidents have come and gone, 12 Olympiads played, and roughly 4000 episodes of “The Price is Right” have aired. All that and many more historic moments have happened since the last time the San Jacinto High School football team has played the La Quinta Blackhawks in 1995. And on Friday Nov. 2, the two teams finally met again for round one of the CIF Southern Section Division 7 playoffs.
San Jacinto won the coin toss, deferring to the second half. The Blackhawks received the opening kickoff and made progress toward the Tigers’ end zone, but were intercepted by said Tigers who quickly drove it home. Wayne Thomas scored the evening’s first touchdown for the Tigers at 8:45. Julio Jauregui successfully added the extra point. In trying to prevent the Tigers’ second TD of the night, a La Quinta foul left Tiger Caleb Hervey injured. But this didn’t stop Hervey, as he got right back in the game. With 1:56 still in the first quarter, Damonce Williams landed the pigskin once again for the Tigers, followed by Jauregui once again with the extra point.
The second quarter was mostly back and forth, and a roughing the kicker call being booed by the home side crowd, until Michael Smith scored the first Blackhawk TD of the night less than four minutes to halftime. With the extra point, that was half of what La Quinta needed to tie it up. The Blackhawks achieved the other half of that with 57 seconds left. But Wayne Thomas caught a pass from Kajiya Hollawayne in the Blackhawks’ end zone with less than a second on the clock to send it into halftime with a seven point lead for San Jacinto.
Third quarter started out largely uneventful, until the six minute mark when Hollawayne went down with an injury. Crowds held their breath for him, and were relieved when he got up and walked it off. In an effort to keep trending upward, Jauregui kicked home a field goal at 4:54.
Thomas kept the upward trend going with a fourth Tiger TD at 10:54 in the final quarter. Soon after, Cameron Rocha went down on the field with a nasty leg cramp. At 8:07, Devon Banks suffered an injury himself. With 4:11 on the clock still, Parker Williams brought in a third Blackhawk TD. At 3:12, Blackhawk Aiden Meyers suffered an injury himself. Luckily, these injuries have all been minor. With one minute left, San Jacinto took a knee and the win 30-20.
Coach Aric Galliano, while happy his Tigers won, knows there’s still more work to do to make it through CIF: “They (La Quinta) had a great game plan, they came out and executed it… We started making mistakes, when we make mistakes we’re not a very good football team. We’ve gotta learn how to play mistake-free football, and we haven’t done so yet.”
As of press time, the Tigers were in Riverside for round two of the playoffs, challenging the Notre Dame Titans who felled Redlands’ Citrus Valley with a score of 42-14.
Your Southern California Ford Dealers sponsor the CIF Southern Section playoffs, which allowed these teams to drive home their football prowess tonight. Maxpreps would provide digital broadcast of this and other playoff games throughout the land.
Elsewhere in CIF:
The Hemet Bulldogs hosted their first home CIF match since 1999, marking the first to be played on Von Driska Field with the Colton Yellow Jackets buzzing in. Colton would be the ones to feel the sting, as Hemet won 42-28.