Foothills Christian Knights 44, St. Joseph's Academy Crusaders 20
By Joshua Garcia
All the Foothills Christian Knights have thought about since week 2 is their lone loss this season to Calvin Christian. Following their 44-20 win in Friday's division 6 semi-final over the St. Joseph's Crusaders, they will get their chance for redemption. Next week's Championship game will feature two teams who combined have one loss this season and are both ranked top 20 in CIF's 8 man division.
Foothills Christian continued to feed their two-headed monster out of the backfield. Joshua Gates and Caleb Tarver worked hard all night switching the tempo between each other's styles keeping St. Joe's defense off balanced. When the Crusaders defenders got used to Tarver's speed, then came Gates' power. It regularly took six of the Crusader's eight men to bring Gates to the ground, but too often that happened after he scored a touchdown. Between the duo they accounted for four of Foothills Christians touchdowns.
St. Joseph's kept the contest close in the first half. After falling behind 16-0 in the 2nd quarter Blase Kerekes called his own number and went 46 yards to the house. That 10 point defect was the tightest it would be on the night as the Knights scored on the next drive and took a 24-6 lead into halftime. The Crusaders opening drive of the 2nd half was their best of the game finding the end zone to make it 24-12. It just wasn't St. Joe's night however as Caleb Tarver and Joshua Gates would not be stopped. St. Joseph's finishes the season (6-3) in their 2016 campaign.
For (9-1) Foothills Christian Knights fans it has been the dream season come true. A program that saw 10 combined wins from 2012-2015 is now the #24 ranked team in California's 8-man division. Only once has Foothills Christian had a season close to this, when they set the current record of eight straight wins in 2008. History could be made Friday if the Knights extend this year's streak to nine by beating St. Joseph's Academy. Foothills is coming off a 44-22 against the Rock Academy. The Knights love to run the football and will continue to do so after back-to-back 300 plus yard performances. Foothills Christian has not lost since week 2 of the season to #11 in California Calvin Christian, who could be waiting for them next round.
Crusader fans had no idea what to expect of the 2016 season after St. Joseph's started off with losses in two of its first three games. Something must have changed however because they went on to earn wins against their next five opponents. Back to (6-2) and fresh off a 46-8 domination of San Pasqual Academy, St. Joseph's looks to keep rolling. The Crusaders have not faced Foothills Christian this season, but have similar opponents to compare. One of St. Joseph's losses is to Rock Academy whom Foothills beat soundly last week, the other was to Calvin Christian who also beat Foothills. Noah Whitney and Blase Kerekes will need to keep up the run attack that has the Crusaders undefeated since the calender changed to October.
Matchup of the Week: Foothills Christian run game vs. St. Joseph Academy defense
If you want to know about the caliber of Foothills Christian run game ask the Rock Academy about last week's game. Not only do the Knights have a good running back, they have a copy of him for whenever he gets tired. Well not really, but when Caleb Tarver is on the field for Josh Gates or vice versa the team loses nothing. The duo split 20 carries right down the middle and it was almost as if they battled to see who could do more with their 10. Gates had 108 yards and a touchdown but was one upped by his partner in ground crime Caleb Tarver who racked up an impressive 163 yards and two touchdowns. The two headed monster is a problem, but one St. Joseph's will work on this week at practice and will look to limit Friday.
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