The Classical Academy Caimans eliminated the Holtville Vikings 41-6 in the first round of the CIF Division V playoffs at Orange Glen High School on Friday night.
With the home field advantage throughout the playoffs, Classical Academy was unable to put together a scoring drive until early in the second quarter.
The initial drives of the game produced multiple turnovers with Holtville coughing up a fumble on the very next play after Classical Academy throwing an interception.
Eventually the aforementioned fumble was recovered by Jake Gilbert and gave the Caimans enough field position to be able to kick through a 24-yard field goal at the beginning of the second quarter.
Much like when Holtville picked off CAHS quarterback Caleb Moen, Classical's Ethan Pillsbury intercepted Jace Heraz's pass and was able to set up the games first touchdown: a 12-yard scamper to the right side by Ty Patterson.
Patterson and the Caimans were not be satisfied with a 10-0 lead as they intercepted yet another pass and converted it into points--which happened to include another touchdown--this time in the form of 11-yard touchdown run by Patterson.
Ironically enough, after throwing two previous interceptions, Heraz threw yet another interception to Classical academy. Thankfully for the Vikings, Ty Patterson's run did not go for six.
With a 17-point lead, Ty Patterson took over the game.
He started off the third quarter with a 57-yard scamper that was capped off by a one-yard run of his own to put up Classical 24-0.
With the lead well in hand, Patterson rushed 50 yards for a touchdown-essentially punching their ticket to the next round.
The Vikings would inevitably score some points thanks to some trickery.
Up 31-0, the Caiman defense allowed Holtville's Jacob Leyba to take a double reverse into the end zone for a touchdown.
Jake Gilbert's subsequent 11-yard touchdown run and a 25-yard field goal by CAHS put the Caimans up for good as they took the game 41-6.
Overall, there were five turnovers from Holtville to go along with just one touchdown all night.
Ty Patterson proved that this round belonged to the Caimans and that their Division V title was in their grasp.
Next week, Patterson and Classical Academy will play Horizon Prep in the CIF semi-final matchup.
With lower school sizes and a lack of home football fields, small schools are often overlooked in the flurry of San Diego’s high school football playoffs.
On Friday night at Orange Glen, however, the No. 1 Classical Academy Caimans and No. 8 Holtville Vikings will be featured squads in the first round of the CIF Division V playoffs.
In a bracket consisting of two christian-based schools, a San Diego school just north of the border, an Escondido arts school and four schools that average over two hours of driving distance to San Diego, Holtville and Classical Academy are teams with very diverse backgrounds.
In a virtual home game, the top-seeded Classical Academy Caimans not only come into the first round as Pacific League champions, but also winners over Holtville earlier in the regular season.
With a 6-4 regular season record, Classical Academy beat Holtville 24-21 on Holtville's senior night.
Thanks to 216 yards and a touchdown on the ground and 77 yards and two touchdowns through the air, the Caimans defeated the Vikings 24-21.
And while Classical allowed Holtville quarterback Anthony Castro to complete 62 percent of his passes for 117 yards and a touchdown, they were able to supplant Holtville's offensive efforts with the efficient rushing trio of Ty Patterson, Jaxon Racciato and Jake Gilbert who combined for 208 yards and a touchdown.
Classical has thrived off of the run this season with 2,256 yards and 25 touchdowns during the regular season. Leading rusher Ty Patterson carries the team with 1,480 yards and 13 touchdowns, while quarterback Caleb Moen's 255 yards and nine touchdowns were key for the Caimans in goal-line situations.
Overall, their offense runs literally and figuratively through Patterson. If the Vikings can stop Patterson, they can definitely stop Classical Academy.
On defense, though, Classical Academy is not a very productive team in comparison to Holtville in terms of turnovers and sacks. As well, despite winning more games, Classical has allowed more points to opposing offenses than Holtville.
Driving over two hours to Escondido, the Holtville Vikings (5-5) will be fighting an uphill battle in Friday night’s game, but will not do so without offensive help.
For a team that averages 31.2 points per game on offense, the Vikings offensive success relies on the efficiency of the running game and their stacked offensive line.
This year, quarterback Anthony Castro leads the offense with not just 1,291 yards and 11 touchdowns through the air, but also 1,055 yards and 8 touchdowns on the ground. Behind Castro's option-based attack is Andrew Camacho (533 yards and 7 touchdowns) and Adam Montes (527 yards and 12 touchdowns).
Overall, the Vikings have rushed for 2,233 yards and 28 touchdowns this year with three receivers catching 18 passes or more.
Holtville could have their way with Classical if both the passing and rushing side of the offense is humming. The key will be bottling up Castro--which many teams have failed to do thus far this season.
Defensively, Holtville can make plays.
Brice Bolin and Andy Pascual lead a defense that has 52.0 tackles for loss, 2 blocked field goals, 7 forced fumbles, 6 interceptions, 18 passes defended and 16.0 sacks.
In terms of special teams play for both teams, Classical Academy's Jake Gilbert averaged 34.3 yards per kick return this season with 2 return touchdowns, while Holtville's Brice Bolin averaged 43.8 yards per kick return (also with 2 return touchdowns) to go with his 27.7 yards per punt return clip.
Holtville, with a team average of 26.3 yards per punt return, is clearly dangerous on special teams and could potentially be the difference maker at the end of the night.
This game will most likely come down to which offense can put more points on the board. Holtville's more balanced attack looks stronger, however, the virtual home-field advantage of Classical Academy could put the Caimans on top.
The winner of this game will go on to play the winner of the fourth-seeded Calipatria and Horizon Christian Academy in the second round of the Division V playoffs.