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El Camino wins SoCal crown by dominating Temecula Valley

San Diego Union Tribune logo San Diego Union Tribune 12/7/2019 By John Maffei, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Six weeks ago, El Camino was just another football team with a losing record hoping for a spot in the San Diego Section playoffs.

Friday night the Wildcats were crowned Southern California Regional Division 3-AA champions after a convincing 34-18 win over Temecula Valley.

The victory, El Camino's sixth in a row, puts the Wildcats (9-6) into the State 3-AA championship game next Saturday at Santa Rosa Cardinal Newman.

"El Camino is playing for its first state title and it's overwhelming," said El Camino's Noah Sega, who scored on runs of 18 and 1 yard and returned an interception 71 yards for a score.

"We've had our ups and downs as a team, but we've really picked it up down the stretch.

"The win over Oceanside (to end the regular season) gave us the momentum to get this done."

Sophomore quarterback Kiah Reed got the Wildcats off to a flying start, hitting Jacob Gathright with a pass over the middle late in the first quarter. Gathright broke a pair of tackles en route to a 48-yard TD.

The Wildcats sniffed out a Temecula Valley fake field goal with Mackavelli Malotumau intercepting a pitch forward from holder Abe Flores and rumbling 42 yards to the Temecula Valley 18. Sega scored on the next play and the Wildcats were up by two scores.

After a Temecula Valley field goal, El Camino put together a seven-play, 80-yard drive with Sega going the final yard for the touchdown.

A Dante Bloodworth interception stopped one Temecula Valley drive and after a punt, Reed hit Alexander Fetko in stride behind the secondary for a 67-yard TD strike and it was 27-3 El Camino at the break.

Sega's interception, which came after Temecula Valley (12-3) recovered an onside kick to open the second half, sealed the win.

Temecula Valley scored twice in the fourth quarter against El Camino's reserves.

"We're playing our best football when it counts the most," said El Camino head coach Michael Hobbs. "The key has been that the kids have embraced what we've been preaching.

"We had a nightmare of a start to the season, now we're trying to be everyone else's nightmare.

"Our defense is relentless. These kids keep fighting every down.

"After last week (giving up 59 points in a win over Bishop's in the San Diego Section Division II title game) the defense gave the offense a chance to win the game."

Sega finished with 14 carries for 82 yards as the Wildcats ran for 200 yards.

Reed completed 11 of 19 passes for 182 yards with TD strikes of 67 and 48 yards.

Temecula Valley-------------------------------- 3 0 0 15 - 18

El Camino---------------------------------------- 14 13 7 0 - 34

EC - Gathright 48 pass from Reid (Souza kick)

EC - Sega 18 run (Souza kick)

TV - FG Tulimero 27

EC - Sega 1 run (Souza kick)

EC - Fetko 67 pass from Reed (kick failed)

EC - Sega 71 interception return (Souza kick)

TV - Moreno 57 run (Gessell kick)

TV - Grutzmacher 2 run (Frazier pass from Flores)

john.maffei@sduniontribune.com

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©2019 The San Diego Union-Tribune

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