East County Sports

Patriots’ win has Riepl effect in division

Christian High lines up against University City on Friday night.




By Ramon Scott



EL CAJON – When Christian High senior JUSTIN ROEHL blocked a University City extra-point attempt with three minutes and change left in the game, nearly everybody at El Cajon Valley High’s Daryl R. Priest Field on Friday night knew what it likely would mean.

Roehl jumped and put his right hand in front of the PAT just moments after the underdog Centurions had taken a 41-35 lead in a matchup of offenses that felt comfortable facing the same defenses for the eighth-straight quarter of football.

The Patriots and senior quarterback OWEN EASLEY engineered, well, a pretty easy drive down the field.

So much so, that Christian High operated confidently enough to try and leave UC no time to retaliate.

And after senior tight end BRYCE RIEPL caught a short, floating touchdown pass while falling on his backside just in front of the goal post, all the Pats had to do was make their now valuable extra point, thanks to Roehl, in order to get out of the San Diego CIF Division III quarterfinals alive.

Captains at midfield on Friday night.

A hitch in kicker GARRETT ROSENTHAL’s possibly early approach, however, sent the whirling ball clanking off the left upright.

However, the Centurions’ aggressive rush initiated contact with Christian’s senior kicker, providing the defensive end by trade a second opportunity.

The try may not have been any prettier than the first, but the boot was clearly through, leaving the Patriots with a 42-41 lead with just 3.8 seconds remaining.

Christian survived the ensuing kickoff by standing up the return man and advanced to the semifinals where it will face Morse here at El Cajon Valley High, once again, next Friday.

Whether it was the unfamiliar setting, where the Pats have played just occasionally through the years, or more likely, the familiarity of having just met two weeks earlier in the Golden Triangle, UC, and star Casey Granfors, made this look like an even matchup.

The Centurions probably underachieved in their season success, but the team on the field Friday night was the one that most expected to see when the season began. The team played more like a league title contender and not one that went winless in the Eastern circuit.

Senior ALEX GONZALEZ had 151 yards of total offense and two touchdowns and senior running back JAVIER JIMENEZ rushed for 119 tough yards and two scores.

“I think we played our hearts out and everyone gave a great effort,” Jimenez said. “The line was doing very well and made it possible for us to be successful in the run game.”

Granfors had three touchdown receptions and two interceptions, one of which he returned 86 yards for a touchdown to give UC a 14-8 lead in the first. His one-handed catch where he pinned the ball against his shoulder as he drifted into the end zone near the right pylon for a 38-yard completion was incredible but looked routine the way he does it.

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