East County Sports

Rally isn’t too heavy for Patriot Bros.

Jake Davila and Joey Merritt (5) lifted Christian to the win on Friday night.

2021 EAST COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL

CHRISTIAN 31, SAN DIEGO 28

 

EastCountySports.com staff report

 

SAN DIEGO – Christian High’s Jake Davila and Joey Merritt hooked up for the umpteenth time in their lives on Friday night but never at a more important moment.

The childhood buddies connected on a 20-yard touchdown pass with 32 seconds left to lift the Patriots to a 31-28 victory over San Diego High in a San Diego CIF  Division II playoff game.

Davila, a rising junior star, passed for three touchdowns to Merritt, and rushed for the other two, as Christian overcame another massive rushing performance by an opponent, this time in the form of the Cavers’ attack.

“I’m so proud of how our team played,” Davila said. “It feels great to help the team get a great win against an amazing program. I’m very excited for next week.”

Awaiting the Patriots, who improved to 6-4, will be the top seed in Division II, the Mira Mesa Marauders. The teams had to scrap a league game because of health protocols.

The Marauders won the Eastern League championship following the passing of popular head coach Chris Thompson on Sept. 4, just two games into the season.

“The playoffs are a new season,” Christian High head coach Dan Mitchell said. “We’re 1-0. The team that does this four times in-a-row will be crowned champions. Regular season results mean nothing other than giving us another opportunity to continue together.”

Christian High scored three touchdowns in the first quarter and looked to have the Cavers stunned.

Davila had a rushing touchdown in the first quarter to give CHS a 6-0 lead midway through the period.

After the Cavers took a 7-6 lead, Davila and Merritt combined for a spectacular 80-yard score to regain the advantage with just over three minutes to play in the first.

The duo hit again on a 5-yard score with about a minute to go in the quarter for an 18-6 edge.

The Pats’ failure to gehad other t any extra points would obviously prove tense.

San Diego earned a score to head into halftime down by just an 18-14 count.

The Cavers took the lead early in the third quarter on the second touchdown from Jadon Green

Davila had a 6-yard rushing touchdown to put Christian back in front, 24-21. Davila passed for 210 yards, including seven connections with Merritt.

“I’m so proud of the way our team fought last night,” Merritt said. “There were so many moments in that game. We could’ve given up but we kept on fighting.”

The Cavers may have thought they have pulled out a victory by scoring a touchdown with a couple of minutes left in the game, but Davila’s game-winning drive ability appeared well-rehearsed.

JC Gustin also reeled in four completions from the quarterback in the contest.

“This win is definitely one of, if, one of my favorites of my career,” Gustin said. “It was a close game the whole way and we had to stay focused until the very end.”

Ryder Jennings and Kayvion Jones forced fumbles for Chrsitian.

Aiden Hypes had two tackles for loss for the Patriots.

“Jake Davila was an absolute warrior and Joey Merritt ranks as one of the best players I’ve ever had a chance to coach,” Mitchell said. “Our defense played physical. It was an absolute great win.”

It was the final game for San Diego High head coach Charles James, he announced earlier this season.

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