Santa Clarita Christian Schools football team has not experienced very many losses over the last 3 seasons. Before their regular season matchup against St. Bernard on August 25, the Cardinals have gone 18-3 (including playoffs), since the annual Faith Bowl in 2016. Losing to St. Bernard was tough for these young men. But, they responded in a big way against the Northgate Broncos.
The first quarter of the St. Bernard game was a defensive struggle. Neither offense was able to put together a solid drive. It was evident both teams were still working out the offseason rust.
In the second quarter, the Cardinals struck first. Kirshner found Lucas Pettee on a short pass, and he took it in for a 55-yard touchdown, giving the Cardinals a 7-0 lead. It was shortly after however that the Vikings responded with a 78-yard touchdown run to tie the game 7-7.
Moving into the third quarter, there was still a defensive battle with both offenses struggling to move the ball effectively. Both teams also struggled to hold on to the ball as both sides turned over the ball on fumbles.
The Cardinals again were able to put together another drive. This time Kirshner found Ethan Schwesinger for a 34-yard touchdown pass to give the Cardinals back the lead, 14-7. But again, the Vikings would respond with their drive and capped it off with a 20-yard touchdown pass tying the game 14-14.
In the fourth quarter, both defenses continued to play strong. However, late in the fourth quarter, the game got interesting. The Cardinal offense began to click, and they drove the ball deep into Viking territory. Kirshner and Ethan Schwesinger would connect again, this time on a 16-yard pass that Schwesinger went up for in the end zone and came down in bounds. This would give the Cardinals a 21-14 lead with under 2 minutes left.
The Vikings offense took over on their own 22-yard line. They went for it and landed a 78-yard touchdown pass to bring the game to a score of 21-20.
This is where things got interesting. A series of unusual events occurred. There was a barrage of penalties called on both teams. The ball would move forward in favor of the Vikings and then back in favor of the Cardinals. This continued. Then finally a play occurred without a penalty, and on this play, the Vikings went for a 2-point conversion and converted.
On the play the Cardinal defense stopped the forward progress of the running back, as he went down he lateraled the ball to a teammate who ran it in. The Cardinals contended the play was dead as they believe the running backs knee was down, which would nullify the lateral and the 2-points. The refs discussed the play, and ultimately the gave the points to the Vikings.
The game ended, 22-21 and the Cardinals moved to 1-1 on the season.
With the St. Bernard game fresh on their minds, the Cardinals were anxious to get back on the field. Head Coach Mark Bates said, “It was good, we came together as a family, went over what went wrong, and then I told them family leaves that at home. It is a great opportunity for us to grow.” And grow they did, they walked off the field with a 47-14 victory.
The Northgate Broncos traveled 6 hours from Walnut Creek. They boast an enrollment of over 1,500 students in grades 9-12. They are ranked number 57 in the North Coast Section which boasts powerhouse De La Salle. The Cardinals knew they had their hands full.
With a solid first half, the Cardinals took a strong lead into halftime. Ethan Schwesinger started the scoring in the first quarter with a 29-yard touchdown catch. Kirshner then found Pettee for a 42-yard touchdown pass. Pettee then ran 8 yards to find his way into the end zone. To close out the first half Kirshner connected with a wide-open Carson Schwesinger for a 26-yard touchdown pass. The Cardinals went to the locker room with a 26-0 lead.
The third half started the way the second half ended. Kirshner started off the third quarter scoring on a 10-yard scramble into the end zone and gave the Cardinals a comfortable 33-0 lead. Things, however, went downhill for the Cardinals for almost the rest of the third quarter.
The Broncos would have two successful drives down the field and scored on a 5-yard run and a 6-yard run. They would bring the score to 33-14. Cardinal fans were beginning to feel uncomfortable, and the momentum was with the Broncos.
The Broncos began to drive down the field again after making another defensive stop. They seem to move the ball at will. The Cardinals defense then made a stand and stopped the Broncos progress at the 22. Forced to go for the end zone on a 4 and 8, the Broncos made an attempt at the end zone. John Keane came across and knocked the ball down and giving the Cardinals the ball back.
On the ensuing offensive possession, Lucas Pettee had 2 big carries that helped seal the game for the Cardinal. The first carry with for 73 yards and took the Cardinals to the 5-yard line. After a penalty his second carry went for 10 yards and a touchdown, increasing the Cardinal lead 40-14.
The Cardinal defense was rejuvenated and kept the Bronco offense contained for the rest of the fourth quarter. The Cardinal offense struck one last time with Kirshner hitting Carson Schwesinger with a 30-yard touchdown pass. The Cardinals pulled off a 47-14 victory.
When asked about this victory and boys response to their loss to St. Bernard Coach Bates said, “I am very pleased with how the boys responded. Our Seniors did a great job of leading the team in ways that made a significant difference.”
This game was also senior night for Cardinal football and cheer. Friends and family celebrated 17 seniors in a pregame ceremony. The national anthem was sung by Tommy Gwinn and he was joined by the United States Marine Corp Color Guard.
The Cardinals move to 2-1 on the season. They have a shortened week and will travel on Thursday, September 6 at 7 p.m. to play Morningside High School.
Founded in 1982, SCCS partners with Christian parents of like faith to challenge students’ minds and train their hearts for God through a distinctively Biblical and challenging education. SCCS has a thriving study body of over 400 students, encompassing grades K-12 and boasts a low student-to-teacher ratio, competitive sports for grades K-12, Advanced Placement and dual enrollment classes and full and half day Kindergarten programs. SCCS graduates continue to matriculate into our nation’s top universities such as: Pepperdine, UCLA and USC, Cornell and Berkley to name a few. SCCS is now enrolling for the 2018-19 school year! Space is limited and filling fast! Click to learn more.