The Classical Academy Caimans (No. 4) came away with the victory in the Division 5 CIF quarterfinal game against the Maranatha Christian Eagles (No.5). The Caimans will now prepare to take on the No. 1 seed Vincent Memorial in the semi-final matchup next Friday night.
The Caimans took time before the game to honor veterans from both teams for Veterans Day. When the game began, the Caimans were ready to make big plays. Early in the first quarter, Kanin Endsley came up with a huge interception in the end zone to prevent the Eagles from scoring on their first drive. Next up, the Caimans forced a fumble by Maranatha QB Nick Glenn to stop another Eagles’ scoring chance. While the Caimans’ offense struggled in the first quarter, the defense did their job all game long. The Caimans soon made another nice pick, this time by Damian Castaneda.
The second quarter finally brought us to some scoring action, as James Duncan connected with Thomas Gehman for a beautiful 30-yard touchdown pass. With that TD, the Caimans took the 7-0 lead. Shortly after, Calvin Vanderleest and a host of Caimans sacked Glenn for a loss. In the third quarter, Duncan experienced a big sack himself when Maranatha’s Joey Dowdy made a forceful tackle. Both teams’ defenses performed well in the third quarter, which meant limited scoring opportunities on either side.
Heading into the fourth quarter, Classical Academy still had the lead but Maranatha had not given up the fight. The Eagles started to find their wings when Nick Glenn connected with Logan Goodwin for a 20-yard gain. That would lead to a 15-yard touchdown pass from Glenn to James Shannon, who was wide open in the end zone. With eight minutes left in the game, the score was tied 7-7.
But Damian Castaneda would be the hero of the night when he made a 9-yard touchdown run to put the Caimans back on top. Although the punt was blocked, the Caimans had a six-point lead, so it was up to the defense to continue to make big plays. And that they did, with excellent coverage and quick feet. Ethan Pillsbury made a statement when he blocked a pass by Glenn on third down, and the crowd rose to their feet in applause. As the seconds continued to kick down, it began to sink in that Castaneda’s TD had been a game-winning one, and the Caimans could begin to celebrate.
The final score of the game was 14-13. The Eagles’ season came to an end, while the Caimans’ season lives to see another week in the next round of playoffs. Tune in to the PPR on KUSI every Friday night at 10:30pm to keep with all the best highlights and recaps of the CIF playoffs.
PREVIEW The San Diego Section football playoffs have finally arrived! Now the quest begins to see which teams in the Open Division and Divisions I-V have what it takes to be crowned CIF champions. The Prep Pigskin Report will cover all the playoff action in each division, starting this week when the fourth seed Classical Academy hosts the fifth seed Maranatha Christian in the Division V CIF Championships. The quarterfinal matchup is scheduled for this Friday, Nov. 10, at 7pm at Del Norte High School because Classical does not have its own field.
The Classical Academy Caimans, led by head coach Jon Goodman, claim a 4-5 regular season record and a 1-2 record in the Coastal League. Classical Academy is coming off an important 35-14 league win over Orange Glen last Friday on their Senior Night. That win broke a three-game losing streak; those losses came at the hands of three of the Caimans’ toughest opponents, including undefeated Bishop’s, undefeated San Diego, and 6-4 Santa Fe Christian. The Caimans put the most points on the board in a single game when they played the Eagles earlier in the season, and came away with the 45-28 victory.
The Caimans will aim to come away with the same result against Maranatha Christian this Friday in the quarterfinals, when the stakes are much higher. "It is always extremely tough to beat a team twice in one season," said Coach Goodman. "We look forward to this opportunity to face this type of challenge and adversity and view it as a gift."
The Maranatha Christian Eagles, anchored by head coach Kyle Duggin, boast a 6-3 record in the regular season and a 3-1 record in the Pacific League. The Eagles are coming off a disappointing 28-13 league loss to Francis Parker last Friday to snap their perfect record in league. But the Eagles will aim onward and upward as they prepare to face the Caimans. Prior to last week’s loss, Maranatha Christian had a three-game win streak as they beat Army-Navy, Tri-City Christian, and Escondido Charter. The game against Escondido Charter was perhaps the Eagles’ best performance of the season, as they put 59 points on the board and held the White Tigers to just six points. The Eagles will look to avenge their mid-season loss to the Caimans by focusing on the areas in which they’ve improved since the teams last met. It is important to note that Classical Academy has a tougher strength of schedule, so the Eagles may have to elevate their level of play to match that of the Caimans.
On the Classical Academy squad, be on the lookout for senior running back Jake Gilbert (#23) to move the ball down the field. Gilbert has 182 carries for 1,496 yards rushing and 11 TD’s. Sophomore James Duncan (#7) has been trusted to lead the team at QB, and has done well so far this season with 35 completions for 527 yards and eight touchdowns. Duncan will likely look to connect with senior Ethan Pillsbury (#20), who has made 23 catches for 308 yards and four touchdowns. Meanwhile senior defensive tackle Jonah Cranford (#55) anchors the defense with 30 solo tackles and 60 total tackles.
Maranatha Christian also boasts a strong offense led by junior quarterback Nick Glenn (#17). The junior standout has thrown 99 passes for 1,336 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. Glenn averages 167 passing yards per game, so look for him to make big offensive plays this Friday. Also be on the lookout for senior receiver James Shannon (#2), who can make plays in the air or on the ground. Shannon has 37 receptions for 501 yards receiving and eight touchdowns, in addition to 33 carries for 325 yards rushing and five more touchdowns. On defense, watch for junior free safety Logan Godwin (#24) to stop the opponent’s momentum. Godwin has come up big this year with 20 solo tackles and 73 total tackles.
Kickoff is set for 7pm. The winner of this game will play the winner of the Vincent Memorial (1 seed)-Southwest SD (8 seed) matchup in the D.V semi-finals next week. Make sure to tune in to the Prep Pigskin Report this Friday at 10:30pm on KUSI for recaps and highlights of this playoff game and more throughout the county, and be sure to follow @RedJacketArmy on Instagram and Twitter.