The Prep Pigskin Report's Imperial County debut ended with the desert team on top, as the #1 Southwest (El Centro) Eagles (11-0) overcame the #9 Mount Miguel Matadors (5-7) by a final score of 39-21 in the El Cajon Ford East County Game of the Week.
The win keeps the Eagles' undefeated record intact and sends them on to the Division III semifinals, where they'll host the 4-seed Hilltop Lancers.
While Southwest has relied heavily on the run game this season, they found most of their early success through the air against the Matadors. Cameron Jungers connected with Tyler Saikhon for 33 yards to open the scoring, then found Jason Holguin for a 12-yard score.
Mount Miguel made their first mark on special teams, with Jarvis Heard collecting a punt and picking his way through traffic for a 55-yard touchdown.
Jungers replied with another aerial strike, this time hitting tight end Grant Hansink, who outran the defense for 60 yards. On the Matadors' next possession, Jonathan Puga tipped a pass in the air and Logan Chell came down with it for the Eagles. They would turn that into 7 points, courtesy a 5-yarder from Reece Quintero.
The running backs then traded blows to close out the half, starting with a 15-yard rumble from Mount Miguel's Shemar Green to cut the deficit to 26-14. On the other side, Saikhon sprinted 80 yards for one score and plunged 6 yards for another, to give Southwest a 39-14 halftime advantage.
Greene would score again on the opening drive of the second half, but no more numbers would change on either side of the scoreboard the rest of the way.
PREVIEW: For the first time in its 19-year history, the Prep Pigskin Report will be live from a featured game in the Imperial Valley. The Red Jacket brigade will be on the scene this Friday night as the #9 Mount Miguel Matadors (5-6) make the trek to face the top seed in Division III, the Southwest Eagles (10-0), in the El Cajon Ford East County Game of the Week.
Tune in for live coverage all night long -- over the air, through your cable box, or streaming live at KUSI.com. Pregame festivities get started during the KUSI News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. During the game, follow all the action on Twitter and Instagram (@kusippr and @redjacketarmy). And of course, you can see all the highlights on the PPR at 10:30 p.m.
After going 5-0 though a non-league slate that included four Arizona teams, Southwest stayed perfect during conference play to win their first outright Imperial Valley League title. And they've done it all in dominating fashion, piling up 425 points on offense and giving up just 48 all season on defense. Their closest call came in a 20-12 victory over Brawley on October 13.
Senior quarterback Cameron Jungers has posted efficient passing numbers, with 1307 yards and 15 touchdowns while throwing only 2 interceptions. But the bulk of the Eagles' work has come on the ground, where they've rushed for 296 yards per game (at 7.4 yards per carry) and scored 37 times.
Leading the backfield corps is senior Tyler Saikhon, with 135 carries for 1148 yards and 19 trips to the end zone (plus 517 yards and 7 scores through the air). But Southwest spreads the rock around, with four other players rushing more than 50 times: Jungers (63 car, 315 yds), senior Derek Guzman (56 car, 475 yds), senior Justin Cordova (52 car, 507 yds), and junior Reece Quintero (52 car, 353 yds).
On defense, seniors Grant Hansink and Jonathan Puga have both tallied 7 sacks. The leading tackler is senior Israel Zermeno with 118 stops, plus a pick-6.
Versatility is the name of the game for Mount Miguel, starting with quarterback Mugabe Miller. The senior has thrown for 1468 yards and 8 scores, while also running 96 times for 394 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Senior running back Shemar Greene has 198 carries for 1066 yards and 11 touchdowns, plus a team-high 28 catches for 533 yard and 4 scores, while also handling punting duties. Leading the team in tackles at 90 is senior Santino Pacheco, who also has 3 sacks and a pair of picks (one returned for a score). He also chips in at receiver with 397 yards and 3 touchdowns, and has taken 2 punt returns all the way back to the house.