East County Sports

Panthers send Patriots home in playoff battle





By Dave Dickens



VISTA (11-15-2019) – Christian High School has been fighting hard since game one at home in an upset versus the underdog Santa Fe Christian squad.

The Patriots do not take kindly to losing to any foe, much less an inferior foe, as the Eagles.

Christian sputtered early on in the season, dropping its opener and two games later, dropping a big contest at home to a very talented Soldotna High School squad from Alaska, 42-7, leaving the Patriots frustrated at 1-2 and ready to practice harder, with new schemes that offensive coordinator Dave Beezer stated he was using – some of the most sophisticated offensive plays in his 27 year career of coaching.

The first test would be against the team that kept pace with them in double overtime, the year prior.

The Patriots came out clear victors, 43-6, and back on track at 2-2.

Christian began to dominate teams, improving its ground assault, confusing defensive coordinators, opening up the passing game and a clear balance for quarterback GABE KRUG, to use his elusive speed, and precision passing ability.

Unfortunately, the Patriots ran into their old pals, or thorns in their side, the Morse Tigers, in a huge loss, 58-22, with a trip to Nevada on the road to drop another, and finally losing the chance to win back-to-back Eastern League championships, but in bizarre fashion losing to the La Jolla Vikings, who claimed their first league championship in over 20 years, however, the Patriots finished 5-5, with a 2-2 mark in league, catapulting them into a first-round battle with the 4-6 great-ground-game Otay Ranch Broncos.

Christian came out, fought hard and won, 24-21, which was also a monumental victory being the smallest school to win a Division II game.

The Patriots were now 6-5 and headed up this evening for the biggest challenge of the year, the Vista Panthers.

The Patriots have now been to the semifinals eight times in ten seasons.

It has, however, been a while since the Panthers have made the semifinals, and it has been since 2011 to be
exact, after defeating the Patriots, 35-14, in a San Diego Section Division II quarterfinal Friday evening.

Vista senior defensive end Noah Watson led the stacked Panthers defense this evening that halted sixth-seeded Christian (6-6) out of the end zone all night long with the only exception of one 48-yard run for an early score on the legs of the speedy Krug, and also at the beginning of the fourth quarter after receiving a broken collarbone scored on a 2-yard run.

Other than the two scores, the Panthers dominated, finally defeating the visiting Patriots, 35-14.

Vista had sacked Krug four times, however, the player of the evening for the hosts was the ground-punishing running back DAVID FLORES, who had 11 carries for 103 yards and a pair of touchdowns, one for 3 yards, and one for 19.

“We had chances,” said Patriots offensive coordinator Dave Beezer. “They scored on a fourth-and-15, scored with two seconds left in the half, and we dropped a TD, which could have changed the game.

“It was a great year for us. We were banged up and battled hard, very proud of our kids. Same guys all year, Krug and TODD (BEEZER) were great leaders for us. We have 388 students at our school, and the fact that we continue to win at this level is truly remarkable.”

Talk about a tough kid, Krug suffered his broken collarbone at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

“II broke it on the first play of the drive,” said Krug, while he was writhing in pain at the ER. “After the play, I kept playing for the rest of the drive and scored at the end with the broken collarbone. It will be a fast recovery and I’ll be working hard in the off-season.

“The other team was well-coached and it was a hard-fought battle tonight and unfortunately we came up short. The entire season was an amazing experience and I definitely think we can improve next year but we will all definitely miss the seniors.

“I believe there were multiple standout players on our team and overall I’m just really happy with how the season went.”

“I thought that Gabe‘s injury didn’t have any effect on the outcome of the game,” Todd Beezer said. “He managed to throw a couple passes with the broken collarbone and score a touchdown.

“I rate this season an eight on the scale of 10 because we didn’t have a great finish but it was a great experience with my teammates.

“One highlight of the season was beating Otay Ranch, When everyone else had picked to lose that game. It’s disappointing the
way we finished this season but I’m proud of my teammates and being the smaller school to win the Division II game.”

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