Saturday, December 10, 2022

CIF State Championships: Mater Dei Catholic goes back-to-back, Lincoln makes history

The Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders (11-4) and Lincoln Hornets (13-1) picked up wins in their respective CIF State Championship games Saturday night. San Diego teams are 2-0 in state title games so far with Granite Hills and Classical Academy scheduled to play tomorrow.

On the first play from scrimmage, Dominic Nankil's pass was picked off by Ferrari Miller Jr. who took it the other way for six. Nankil responded with a drive that ended with a 17-yard touchdown connection to Surahz Buncom. 

Ricky Osuna nailed two straight field goals to give the Crusaders a 13-6 lead heading into halftime.

Following a three-and-out by McClymonds to start the half, Mater Dei marched 75 yards down the field during a drive that was capped off by a 4-yard touchdown run by Anothony McMillian Jr., giving the Crusaders a 20-6 lead early in the third quarter.

The Warriors were positioned within Mater Dei's 10-yard line as a result of an interception by Redmani Albert and an unnecessary roughness penalty. That led to Jaivian Thomas scoring from 4 yards out to reduce his team's deficit to 20-12 with 1:22 remaining in the third quarter.

With 7:46 remaining, Albert's 19-yard touchdown cut the Crusaders' lead to 20-18, but Mater Dei Catholic responded immediately with a 51-yard scoring strike on a halfback pass from Rollin George to Buncom, and the Crusaders were back up 26-18.

A potential game-tying drive for McClymond was cut short by Chris "Boom" Snyder's game-clinching interception, securing the San Diego Section's first back-to-back state championship. This makes the fourth in team history.

From a school that produced two Super Bowl MVP running backs in Marcus Allen and Terrell Davis, Georgia commit and Silver Pigskin winner Roderick Robinson II may go down as one of the best. Robinson, who was still nursing an injury from before the playoffs, carried the ball 22 times for 211 yards and four touchdowns to help the Hornets win their first football state championship.

With the win, Lincoln became the first San Diego Section team to beat De La Salle, who holds the record for most California state titles.

Following great defensive efforts by both teams, the first quarter ended in a 0-0 tie. 

The Spartans drew first blood when De La Salle running back Charles Greer burned the Hornets' defense for a 67-yard touchdown with 3:53 left in the first half. Lincoln responded with a 3-yard score by Robinson.

A quarterback keeper by Toa Faavae made it to the end zone and gave the Spartans a 14-7 lead at the half.

After Robinson's 32-yard touchdown run tied the score at 14, junior Jamarion Herbert recovered a fumble, which led to senior wide receiver Corey Thompson-Miller scoring on a pass by senior quarterback K.J. Chatham, who was almost sacked on the play but ended up giving Lincoln its first lead of the game.

Chris White's interception was nearly taken to the house, but he was tripped up near the goal line. This set up Robinson running in his third touchdown of the night from the Wildcat position, extending the Hornets' lead to 27-14 with 2:35 to play in the third quarter.

De La Salle wasn't ready to give up easily as Faavae responded with an 88-yard scramble for a score. 

Robinson continued to deliver; rushing 32 yards on 4th down for his fourth and final trip to paydirt, giving Lincoln a 33-21 advantage.

With 9:58 remaining in the fourth quarter, Faavae found junior Derrick Blanche wide-open for a 39-yard touchdown strike to cut the lead to 5 with 9:58 left to play.

De La Salle would get a final possession, but Josaun Granderson, Adrien Chargualaf, and Munir Kassa sacked Faavae in three straight plays to spoil any hopes for a game-winning drive.

Lincoln set a new single-season team record with 13 wins.

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