Division IV Championship: San Diego Cavers 42, Kearny Komets 14
For Kearny, Friday represents the chance to change 27 years of history.
For their opponent, Friday represents the chance to redeem a year of pain.
The Cavers and Komets will meet for the second time this season when they will play for the Division IV CIF title at Southwestern College Friday afternoon.
For Kearny, it’s the cherry on top of a revival unseen since the days of Shawn Boose under center for an 8-3 Kenny Nears led team that never got to fulfill its promise.
Under head coach Will Gray’s leadership, nearly anything is possible.
“It’s been even longer since we’ve won a championship,” Kearny head coach Will Gray said. “In 1973, their undefeated team was the last time.”
While the Komets are getting love like they’ve never loved before, San Diego High is experiencing love and loss. Charles James’ squad returns several starters from the team that played at Southwestern College in 2017. The most important departure? No Jahmon McClendon to run after this time around.
“Most of my guys are back,” San Diego head coach Charles James said. “They don’t want the same outcome they had last year.”
San Diego has the edge in outcomes this time around. In the Cox Communications Game of the Week against Kearny on October 19, the Cavers held off a late Komet rally for a 21 to 13 win, the only blemish on Kearny’s record this season, and a loss that cost Kearny the City League title.
WHEN SAN DIEGO HAS THE BALL
There may be no player in San Diego as versatile as 2018 Silver Pigskin finalist Jayden Wickware. The six foot one phenom had 131 total yards in the Cavers first game against Kearny.
San Diego will also have a rare advantage in having a signal caller that’s been in a championship game before. Quinn O’Connor threw for 310 yards in the Cavers’ loss to Monte Vista last season. O’Connor has continued to be efficient this season, sporting a 16 to 3 TD to interception ratio.
Sophomore running back Mo Jackson had a quiet 83 yard night the first time around, but has excelled as the season has moved forward, capped off by a 206 yard performance in the semifinals against Santana.
For Kearny to stop the Cavers diverse attack, look towards the interior. Nose guard DeMarco Wyatt had 18 tackles in the October contest.
WHEN KEARNY HAS THE BALL
After missing two games with an injured leg, Kenyon Williams has come back with a vengeance. The San Diego High game is the only one this season in which he did not throw a touchdown pass.
This points to relying even heavier on running back Duce Reynolds. The five foot ten, 200 pounder ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns in the first game against the Cavers, and has averaged more than 140 yards per game in 2018.
If the game comes down to the arm of Williams, the Komets will need another big game from wide receiver Demieko Hill. The speedy receiver caught two second half touchdowns to put Kearny ahead for good in the semifinals against Serra.
San Diego’s defense will be anchored by two way star Raiden Hunter. The linebacker holds scholarship offers from Columbia, USD, and Navy.