Last year’s CIF Division 5 runner-up, the TrI-City Christian Eagles (6-5), started their 2017 playoff push in convincing fashion dismantling Montgomery 52-14.
The smallest 11-man school in the county, with an enrollment a tad more than 200, rushed for five touchdowns in the first round. The two-headed monster of Salibo (2 rushing, 1 receiving) and Gonzalez (3 rushing) split the six scores. As usual Gonzalez scored three times inside the 10-yard line for 13 on the season, but tonight Salibo looked like the more complete player. Salibo was slippery in the open field scoring from 55, 12, and 19-yards out. But it was the play on defense as he laid the lumber on running back Samson You forcing a fumble on a possible “play of the week’ BIG HIT.
Defensively, it looked like it was going to be a long night for the Eagles as Montgomery’s Hunter Joseph broke a 51-yard touchdown run on their opening drive. The Aztecs wouldn't score again until their last drive of the game. TCC tightened up and were flying around making plays and forcing four turnovers on the night. Joseph is a better individual athlete than 90 percent of the Eagles team, but not better than Tri-City Christian collectively as they had at least two helmets on the ball-carrier at all times.
Tri-City will travel in the second round to face No.2 Crawford.
The No.3 seed Montgomery Aztecs (7-3, 3-0) broke a 31-year spell by winning the Metro-Pacific League and finishing with their best record since 2010. Head Coach Sanj Subbiah, in his second year, improved on last years record of 3-7 and will take their five-game winning streak into the first round to play No. 6 Tri-City Christian Eagles (5-5, 3-2).
The fifth-ranked offense in Division V runs through the county’s third leading rusher Hunter Joseph who rushed for 1,427 yards averaging 8 yards per carry on the season. The senior averaged 191 rushing yards in the last four games of the season compiling 9 rushing touchdowns. Joseph has accounted for 15 of the Aztec’s 24 rushing touchdowns during the regular season.
There are few proven methods to winning football games. One of them is to control the clock and play solid defense. The Aztecs have allowed 176 points through 10 games which is the lowest mark in the division. The defense is averaging a tad more than 1.5 sacks per game (16 total) thanks to the senior duo of JoJo Simmons (5 sacks) and Daniel Betain-Torres (4 sacks) who have combined for 9 sacks. The No.1 defense in the division also grabs just over 1 interception per game (13 total) with Rahin Williams (5 interceptions) and David Vargas (3 interceptions) patrolling the secondary.
Tri-City Christian (5-5, 3-1) out of the Pacific League is led by Head Coach Shane Goodwin who is in his third year with an overall record of 22-11. The Eagles offense averages 251 rushing yards per game thanks to a trio of running backs. Senior Roman Gonzalez is the tone-setter rushing for 1,231 yards and 10 touchdowns during the regular season. Christian Salibo and Zach Reitmeyer have also contributed in major ways as Reitmeyer has rushed for 603 yards and Salibo has rushed for 647 yards along with 14 touchdowns. One of the catalysts for the success of the backfield is all three backs didn’t miss a game in the regular season.
The winner will play the victor of No. 2 Crawford and No.7 Army-Navy in the semi-finals. Find out who advances only on KUSI’s Prep Pigskin Report.