There's no question that there are bigger linebackers in high school football these days. And certainly there are players with more recruiters in pursuit.
But it would be hard to argue about the success Santana linebacker Jonathan Butler
has enjoyed this season.
Butler broke the Santana record for sacks in a season last week as the visiting Sultans (6-3-1) closed the regular season with a 42-13 Grossmont Valley League triumph over El Cajon Valley.
Butler ran his sack total to 13 with quarterback muggings in the first and second quarters.
The 5-foot-9, 191-pound senior broke the sack mark of 12 set by the late Leon Bender in 1992. Bender was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 1998 but died prematurely before he could play in an NFL game.
“Beating Bender’s record – I know he was a lot better player than me – is an honor,” Butler said. “Subconsciously it was a goal for me to get the record today. But I wasn’t just worrying about the sack record, I just wanted to play how I usually do.”
And so he did – recording six tackles.
He made contributions on both sides of the ball on this night. A linebacker by trade, Butler had logged only five rushes for 21 yards prior to the finale as a fullback, before breaking through for 112 yards and two touchdowns on six carries against the Braves.
“I went out for running back my freshman year,” Butler recalled. “But they told me I could only play on one side, so I went with defense.”
Guess he’s got more options now.
BELL GAME RINGS FOR BRAWLEY
quarterback Donny Wharton
rushed for 179 yards and three touchdowns while passing for 42 yards and a touchdown as the Wildcats defeated El Centro Central 41-21 in the 67th annual Bell Game. It was Brawley’s first win over the Spartans in four years.
The Wildcats have won the bell 42 times since it became the symbol of triumph in the rivalry in 1944. The win also secures the Wildcats a share of the Imperial Valley League title with El Centro Southwest.
“I’m speechless right now … there is nothing like this feeling. It’s amazing,” Brawley senior running back A.B. Oceguera
told the Imperial Valley Press. “The bell is back where it belongs and it’s a great feeling.”
WILDCATS CLAW PAST OCEANSIDE
El Camino (Oceanside)
quarterback Josef Ferrick
was on the mark, hitting 12 of 15 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns, including a 62-yard pass to Isiah Jackson
, as the Wildcats pushed the Pirates off the plank for only the second time in 10 years.
El Camino (5-5) rushed for 235 yards, built a 17-0 lead and kept Oceanside (7-3) out of the end zone until the final 10 minutes of the game. The Wildcat defenders recorded seven sacks, which helped short-circuit the Pirates offense.
Sophomore Tofi Pao Pao
passed for 302 yards while connecting on 27 of 36 passes, but the El Camino pressure kept him off balance.
VALLEY CENTER SEEKS STATE BOWL GAME BID
, ranked No. 1 in the Southern California Division III CIF State Bowl Game rankings by MaxPreps.com and No. 4 in the CIF-SDS Section, capped off its first unblemished regular season. The 2004 Jaguars, the first of the school's four section champions, finished with two ties during an 11-0-2 campaign. This team may be better.
Quarterback Travis Bernard
is the triggerman for the Jaguars, passing for 2,053 yards and rushing for 234 yards.
Not surprisingly, Valley Center concluded the regular season with a 70-0 dismantling of Orange Glen.
The Jaguars have captured three of the last five CIF-SDS Division IV championships.
MAR VISTA MAKES IMPRESSIVE RUN
A 7-3 football season isn’t all that out of the ordinary at some schools, but the Mar Vista (Imperial Beach)
surge in the Metro South Bay League was special. Ruben Gonzales
scored three touchdowns and Demarcus Henderson
and Justin Peoples
each scored twice as the Mariners buried San Diego Southwest 56-0 in the regular season finale. The Mariners finished the regular season with seven wins for the first time since 1996.
OTHER TOP PERFORMANCES
El Cajon Christian quarterback Shane Dillon
completed 28 of 43 passes for 454 yards and five touchdowns against Bishop’s.
Senior Shakeel Marshall
of Vista rushed for 143 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries in the Panthers' 37-3 win over Fallbrook. He also caught an 80-yard touchdown pass.
* Tri City-Christian’s Kevin Giese
passed for 275 yards and one touchdown, kicked four PATs, ran for a 2-point conversion and recorded a sack in a 48-21 win over Escondido Charter.
* Senior quarterback Garrett Krstich
of La Costa Canyon clicked on 23 of 35 passes for 277 yards, including the game-winning touchdown strike with 1:55 remaining in a 24-21 victory over rival Torrey Pines.
* Six-foot-2, junior wide receiver Kyle Harris
of El Cajon Christian reeled in nine passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns, including an 87-yard scoring strike against Bishop’s. Harris has 54 receptions for 1,205 yards.
Valhalla junior quarterback Frank Foster
was 23-for-32 passing for 406 yards and five touchdowns in Valhalla’s 33-20 triumph over Granite Hills.
* Christian Life Academy’s A.J. Buffini
rushed for 196 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries in a 46-40 win over Anchorpoint Christian (Gilroy). He also ran for three 2-point conversion runs and passed for another.
* Tyler Gomogda
of Rancho Bernardo produced 161 all-purpose yards in a victory over Poway.
As a rule first round playoff games do not present many attractive matchups. Best of the bunch in the CIF-SDS are: Division I encounters Otay Ranch (6-4) at El Camino (5-5); San Diego (6-3-1) at Grossmont (8-2); and Division II skirmish Morse (6-4) at Scripps Ranch (5-4-1). All are Friday at 7 p.m.
Click here to view MaxPreps' CIF-San Diego Section football playoff brackets.Click here to view MaxPreps' California football playoff brackets.DICKENS' DEALINGS
Somebody is always unhappy when it comes to the seeding process. Take your pick...
Some critics wondered how El Cajon Christian (5-5) could finish the Coastal League season 0-4 yet still land a No. 4 seed in the CIF-SDS Division V playoffs and draw a first round bye that would send the Patriots into the quarterfinals. Oh sure, North County teams are used to preferential treatment, but this time, for some reason, they believe they were low-bridged.
“We paired the teams according to how the committee seeded the teams," CIF-SDS commissioner Dennis Ackerman told The North County Times. “There was absolutely no North County bias or anti-North County bias. The pairings were exactly according to the seeds.”
The biggest beef was in Division I where the majority of the North County teams vie. None of the coaches had a problem with the first three seeds in Division I — No. 1 Eastlake (10-0), No. 2 Torrey Pines (9-1) and No. 3 Vista (9-1).
It was Mira Mesa (5-5) receiving the No. 4 seed over Grossmont (8-2) and Poway (6-4) that had coaches buzzing. Strength of schedule was also a criterion that rocked the apple cart.
“I'm really unhappy about this," Poway coach Damian Gonzalez said. "Take a look at the bracket and see what you think.”
The top four seeds in each division receive first-round byes. The final seeds do not fall exclusively upon the section commissioner or his staff. Each geographic area of the section has a playoff representative, who, with input from the area coaches, presents their thoughts to the CIF-SDS.
One team all agree upon is Helix (10-0) as the top-seed in Division II. The Highlanders have posted three shutouts and have not allowed more than 10 points in any game, while averaging 35.8 points on offense per contest.
Helix coach Troy Starr admitted he’s not a fan of the seeding process.
“I gave up on those a long time ago,” he said. “I don’t even waste energy thinking about it. Just put us some place and we’ll show up and play.”
No matter which way you turn, there appears to be injustice. Yet, at this time of year you can throw away the records. This is more about making money for the CIF sections as much as anything else.