East County Sports

Vikings earn title from Patriots late




By Dave Dickens



LA JOLLA (11-1-2019) – The Christian High Patriots have fought hard all season long for a second-straight league championship. The formula was simple. Defeat the La Jolla Vikings.

Coming out of the gate hot, the Patriots were gonna silence the crowd early on a 10-yard run by their speedy gunslinger, GABE KRUG, with a successful point after, it was 7-0, Pats.

Krug has been the second-leading rusher this season, finishing the regular season with 103 carries for 688 yards, and four touchdowns.

Neither squad entered the end zone in the second as both played stellar defense, leaving the score at 7-0 Patriots at intermission.

The Vikings would strike next with a streaking run by Makai Smith for 52 yards to put the Vikings on the board with six as the point after had failed. The Pats were still leading, 7-6, in the third quarter.

However, the Patriots never go down easy, put together a nice drive of their own, and would later send CHRISTIAN SALACUP into the end zone for a 1-yard Patriot score, as the Patriots chose to try and convert a two-point conversion that unfortunately failed, increasing the Patriot lead to 13-6.

The same score would hold up until the fourth quarter as fate would change the fortunes of La Jolla for the history books.

A solid ground attack has been the key to success, with a versatile offensive line and different play calls this season.

A determined La Jolla sophomore quarterback Jackson Stratton put on his game face and tossed a beauty to Diego Solis for a 34-yard score and a successful extra point led to a 13-all tie, as again the visitors were not finished with the host Vikings.

The most interesting part of the story, Stratton was 1-of-5 passing for 5 yards and an interception by the Pats in the first half.

Mr. Reliable, running back NATE STINE would score on a two-yard run after a successful offensive series, but more importantly, the missed point-after and earlier failed two-point conversion would come back to haunt the Patriots.

The score in the fourth was now 19-13 Christian High with 38 seconds left in regulation.

La Jolla was not gonna go quietly as it drove down the field quickly.

The Vikings were now on the Patriot 16-yard line with 12 seconds left on the clock.

Stratton saw that wide receiver Finn Rice was ahead of his defender and threw a laser to Rice to tie the game 19-all after the 16-yard strike.

Kicker Devin Bale drilled the go-ahead point-after to seal the win for the Vikings, 20-19.

Vikings fans were already running onto the field but a few seconds remained for Christian.

This was the first Eastern title won by La Jolla in 24 years.

“Penalties and missed 0pportunities early haunted us late,” said Patriots offensive coordinator DAVE BEEZER. “We played tough and worked hard together and just came up short. The penalties hurt and we didn’t execute on some of our plays.

“At the end of the day, we just have to flip the page and move onto the next week. I’m upset with the fact that we couldn’t come out with the win for our seniors because they deserved it. Every senior on and off the field contributed this year and were key to the success we had in the regular season.

La Jolla (6-4, 4-0 Eastern) enters the Division III playoffs, while Christian (5-5, 2-2 Eastern) will enter Division II playoffs, facing Otay Ranch.

“Otay Ranch is a tough opponent but a great week of practice and a good game plan is what we will strive for in order to come out with the win,” said Krug.

“I think we definitely had what it took to win but we just weren’t playing our best game,” Christian wide receiver TOD BEEZER said. “WILL CARLOCK made an outstanding play on fourth-and-long which led to a touchdown.

“Some players that played hard were our center, ANDREW CARLOCK, and our receiver, WILL CARLOCK.”

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