Hey, what about us!

While the so-called big boys monopolize the news, there happens to be a CIF-Northeast Division quarterfinal contest on Friday featuring San Juan Capistrano Valley Saddleback Valley Christian at La Habra Whittier Christian.

Hey, what about us! While the so-called big boys monopolize the news, there happens to be a CIF-Northeast Division quarterfinal contest on Friday featuring San Juan Capistrano Valley Saddleback Valley Christian at La Habra Whittier Christian.

 

These squads are both labeled small-schools due to limited attendance. Saddleback Valley has 170 students and Whittier Christian (9-2) has a whopping 650 enrollment. Good grief! Who wants to go to these schools. You have to take courses that aren't called "sports officiating" and "art appreciation." You even have to attend practice.

 

Saddleback Christian (8-3) is so cozy that head football coach Mike Henjum is also the principle.

 

Both the Heralds and the Warriors have players who rank up the charts, and per capita against the opposition, those stats are not watered down. Saddleback Valley QB Brendan Chambers and Whittier Christian  setback Esteban Camarillo are the real deal and each could start almost anywhere.

 

Camarillo sits above all Orange County rushers with 2438 yards and 35 TD. He put up almost the same numbers last season as a junior.

 

Chambers, a junior, has a combined 3,000 yards and 38 TD rushing and throwing. Chambers led the Warriors in two wins over a strong Bloomington Christian team this season. He also hurled a complete-game victory over Bloomington Christian in last season's CIF-Division VII baseball championship game.

 

Chambers has a pair of excellent wide receivers senior's Nick Cholas and Keith Fernandez. Cholas has caught 54 passes for 673 yards, 8 TD. Fernandez has 36-517-6.

 

If either Camarillo or Chambers do not perform up to their capability, it will doom their team. Whittier Christian could recover better without Camarillo than Saddleback Christian without Chambers.

 

Warriors' senior QB Phillip Hughes has only averaged nine passes per game, however they have gone for 18 yards each, good for five TD and no interceptions.

 

Hughes directed the Warriors to impressive wins over Whittier (41-13), Campbell Hall (66-7), Marshall (48-0), and a 62-20 victory against Capistrano Valley Christian in its playoff opener. Their losses were to Los Angeles Baptist, 37-34 and to Brentwood 28-13 for the Alpha League title.

 

Saddleback Valley lost its San Joaquin League title game to Los Angeles Ribet Academy, 15-14. They lost a non league game to Newport Beach Sage Hill, 17-14. What is particularly disturbing is a 50-0 loss the Warriors suffered to San Juan Capistrano St. Margaret's.

 

A 50-0 drubbing means there are serious defects somewhere, no matter what the circumstances. Possibly the Warriors entire offensive line, which averages 260 pounds, was out with injury.

 

Maybe coach Henjum benched his all-star defensive cast of Garrett Hiller, Chris Gipe (10 Int), Costi Hinn (110 tackles), Jordan Charnley-Holmes, Cholas, and Chambers. The Warrior defense is big, fast, and intelligent.

 

It will take all of the above and more to stop the 5-8, 165 pound Camarillo. No team has and no team will.

 

Whittier Christian has an excellent front line consisting of two-way performer Frank Chaves and linebackers Nathan Coleman and Darren Nelson. David Novak is a load at DE, standing 6-2 and weighing 270. Junior SS Kyle Clark has seven interceptions.

 

Both teams logged wins over Mammoth. Whittier Christian beat Mammoth 15-8 and Saddleback Christian won more convincingly 48-18. Each team also averages more than 30 points per game.

 

Coach Jon Caffrey and his Whittier Christian Heralds played the much tougher schedule and will be able to grind out a decisive win at home on Friday in a game to be played at Whittier College.
 
 
 


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