Friday, November 11, 2011

The Big Game: Rio Mesa at Camarillo

For the Title . . .
For the Bragging Rights.

The thoughts and colors listed above were printed on the cover of the souvenir game program and summed up yet another clash between

Rio Mesa Spartans
3-1 PVL, 7-2 Overall
Camarillo Scorpions
4-0 PVL, 6-3 Overall

This would be the 37th meeting between the two crosstown rivals and as usual a title and bragging rights were indeed on the line. The rivalry started in 1975 and the Scorpions led this hard fought series 19-17.

The great thing about this game annually is that it is not a bitter rivalry. Don't get me wrong, the bragging rights are an intense thing to deal with but the players and coaches respect each other and that usually leads to a cleanly played, intense game.

The 2011 edition would be no different and turned into a classic as the evening unfolded.

Let's set up the pre-game match-ups.

Even though the Scorpions already had at least a share of the 2011 Pacific View League championship in hand, Rio Mesa was ranked ahead of them in this week's C.I.F. Western Division poll. The Spartans were ranked 11th while the Scorpions were ranked 13th out of the 36 teams in the Western Division.

The two squads were experiencing offensive success with contrasting styles.

Camarillo's offense ranks #4 in the county averaging 37.6 points per game while Rio Mesa's offense ranks #12 in the county scoring at a rate of 28.3 points per contest.

On defense, the Spartans give up 21.0 points per game, good for the county's #11 spot while the Scorpion's defense checks in at #20 allowing 28.8 points per game.

The Spartans like to keep the clock running with their ground game. Jordan Nunnery entered the game as the #5 rusher in Ventura County (31 schools) with 1,044 yards on the season. Tanner Wrout was ranked #13 having run the ball for 683 yards. In contrast, Camarillo's leading rusher was Conrad Kotake with 595 yards.

The Scorpions love to pass the ball and have used two QBs this year due to injury. Their current QB who was hurt and missed many of the pre-season games is Travis Valdez, a Junior. Valdez is Ventura County's #1 passer, having completed 69.8% of his 162 passes for 1,999 yards and 29 TDs. Camarillo's other QB, Michael Marin, is a Sophomore who has completed 66.4% of his 152 passes for 1,071 yards and 9 TDs. Marin ranks #17 in the county passing statistics. Rio Mesa's QB is Trent Thornton who has played very well for us within the confines of our run oriented offensive scheme. Trent has completed 52.7 % of his passes for 707 yards and 6 TDs.

One of Camarillo's outstanding weapons is their Senior wide receiver Jake Maulhardt who is 6'7" tall and weighs in at a solid 215 lbs. He is the state of California's all-time leading pass catcher with 208 career grabs. In his stellar career, Maulhardt has 23 TD catches and 2,759 yards . . . WOW! This season he has 105 catches, 1,465 yards and 14 TDs. He also set another state record for most catches in a game earlier this year against Canyon H.S. when he caught 28 passes -- yes, TWENTY-EIGHT, passes! With our game and at least one playoff game left in the Camarillo season, Maulhardt only needs 18 more catches for the receiving Trifecta, i.e., the single season state record of 122 catches. An amazing player to say the very minimum.

The Scorpions have another standout receiver in Conrad Kotake who I already mentioned was their leading rusher. Kotake has hauled in 51 passes for 935 yards and 19TDs. This ranks him as the #2 receiver in the county behind only his teammate Jake Maulhardt. Kotake's 23 TDs and 140 total points scored ranks him #1 in the county while the Spartans' Jordan Nunnery is #6 with 96 points.

As for the stakes, they were simple. If Rio Mesa wins, then the two squads would be co-champs with the Spartans entering the playoffs next week as the league's #1 seed and Camarillo earning the #2 seed. If this happened and Channel Islands beat Hueneme then C.I., at 7-3, would be a viable candidate for a Wild Card berth in the C.I.F.'s Western Division playoffs.

If Camarillo won then things would get iffy at best for Rio Mesa. This scenario leaves the Scorpions as the PVL's #1 team and, coupled with expected Channel Islands and Oxnard wins, a coin flip for the league's #2 seed would be needed.

We did not want it to come down to a coin flip.


Jordan Nunnery is a WARRIOR!!!

As expected, he was magnificent on the night as he played his heart out, as did the rest of the Spartans. Part of the mantra for the week was to leave it all out on the field, and leave no stone unturned in our quest for a victory.

Jordan led the way with 26 carries for 145 yards and 2 rushing TDs. He also caught 3 passes for another 24 yards, returned a kickoff for 90 yards for a TD and was in on 2 tackles.

Conrad Kotake

While we were able to keep the Scorpions great receiver Jake Maulhardt under wraps most of the evening (4 catches for 51 yards), we were not able to stop Kotake. He came through with 145 yards rushing and made several key catches throughout the night.

At the end of the first quarter, Camarillo led 13-7.

Bizarre Play

In the second quarter, at the end of one of our runs, our back fumbled the ball as you see in this picture. As you can see, the pigskin is behind the Scorpion defenders and they have no idea that that precious ball is there for the taking!

Suddenly, out of nowhere . . .

Ben Quantock to the rescue!!!

Ben was in position to see the ball, scooped it up and raced 56 lonely yards by himself for a TD! The other 21 players on the field were still amassed back at the 44 yard line trying to figure out what just happened.

At the half, Rio Mesa led 27-20.

Corbin Corvey

Who? I didn't mention his game in the pre-game write-up but he was destined to become one of those unknown players who always tend to make a name for themselves in the BIG GAME. He made a spectacular 39 yard TD catch to go along with his other 6 catches and a total of 125 yards.

I should mention the great job that Spartan back-up fullback Matt Espinoza did in the second half replacing Tanner Wrout who was injured late in the first half and would not return to action. Matt blocked exceptionally well, caught a 15 yard pass and contributed 24 yards on the ground including a 5 yard TD run.

Trent Thornton for SIX!

Trent is our QB and is another "Program Guy." He has shown great mental and physical toughness over his four years at Rio Mesa and played lights out for RMHS on this night.

Here we see him on his only carry of the night, a 2 yard QB sneak. He came up big for the Spartans having the best night of his career in completing 11 of his 15 passes for 146 yards.

I'm very proud of Trent's effort and contributions on this night.

After three periods it was Rio Mesa 37-34.


QB Travis Valdez

He played at the level that I expected and that would not be a good thing for the Spartans.

The fourth quarter would continue to be a scoring derby as Camarillo mounted a 99 yard TD drive after a great Ben Quantock "Coffin Corner" punt. That score gave the Scorpions a 48-44 lead with 1:24 left in the game.

Trent Thornton led us us smoothly and efficiently down the field as the clock ran down to two seconds with the ball on the Camarillo 5 yard line.

The game was on the line on this one last play of a wild game. What more could you ask for?

Unfortunately for us, the Scorpions stopped us short of the end zone and the win and Pacific View League title were both theirs.

Final score, Camarillo 48 - Rio Mesa 44.

I was proud of both teams. It was another, great, hard fought, intense, clean game between two squads with lots of mutual respect.

As for the rest of our season, the fates were not kind to us this year. Channel Islands and Oxnard both won there games creating a three-way tie for second place. Channel Islands won the coin flip and thus won the league's second automatic bid into the playoffs.

That leaves us having to apply for one of the playoffs four Wild Card bids and hoping that the selection committee picks us from a group of seven Wild Card possible squads, one at 8-2 on the season and the other six of us all at 7-3. We'll find out on Sunday if we made the cut.

Week #10 Results: BOLD = RM Opponents
Pacific View League Games:
Camarillo 48 - Rio Mesa 44
Oxnard 56 - Pacifica 55
Channel Islands 44 - Hueneme 0

Channel League Games:
Dos Pueblos 28 - San Marcos 0
Santa Barbara 35 - Buena 7
BYE: Ventura

Jordan Nunnery is a WARRIOR!!!

Did I mention this earlier?

I would really like to have the opportunity to coach this group of young men one more time. We'll see on Sunday when the play-off brackets are announced.

For more on the Camarillo game, click on this link to the Ventura County Star's post game article and their video of the game:

2011 C.I.F.-Southern Section
Western Division Playoffs

The regular season is now over and the C.I.F.-S.S. Playoffs pairings will be announced this Sunday, as I said, with the playoffs set to start next Friday.

The Pacific View League, as well as the Channel League, will send teams to the C.I.F.-S.S. Western Division Playoffs.

The Western Division is made up of six leagues with a total of 36 schools.

The top two teams in each league get automatic bids into the playoffs. After these 12 teams earn their playoff bids, the C.I.F.-S.S. will then select four Wild Card teams to round out the 16 team bracket. The playoff is a single elimination, four week affair.

The final standings in the six Western Division leagues are as follows. Where a two way tie exists, head-to-head competition is the first tie breaker. If there is a three way tie, a coin flip is used to break the log jam if no clear winner comes out of the head-to-head scenario.

Teams in bold black are in the playoffs by virtue of earning one of the league's two guaranteed spots. The seven teams in bold red are in contention for one of the four Wild Card berths in the playoffs.

Pacific View League Standings:
Camarillo 5-0 PVL, 7-3
Channel Islands 3-1, 7-3
Oxnard 3-2, 5-5
Rio Mesa 3-2, 7-3
Pacifica 1-4, 3-7
Hueneme 0-5, 2-8

Channel League Standings:
Ventura 4-0 CL, 10-0 overall
Dos Pueblos 3-1, 3-7
Santa Barbara 2-2, 5-5
Buena 1-3, 2-8
San Marcos 0-4, 1-9

Mission League Standings:
Serra 5-0 ML, 8-2 overall
Chaminade 4-1, 8-2
St. Francis 3-2, 8-2
St. Paul 2-3, 7-3
Harvard-Westlake 1-4, 5-5
Cathedral 0-5, 3-7

Ocean League Standings:
Santa Monica 5-0 OL, 9-1 overall
Inglewood 4-1, 5-5
Culver City 3-2, 7-3
Beverly Hills 1-4, 2-8
Hawthorne 1-4, 5-5
Morningside 1-4, 4-6

PAC-7 League Standings:
Arroyo Grande 6-0 PL, 9-1 overall
Righetti 4-2, 7-3
San Luis Obispo 4-2, 7-3
Atascadero 3-3, 6-4
Pioneer Valley 2-4, 5-5
Paso Robles 2-4, 3-7
St. Joseph 0-6, 3-7

San Gabriel Valley League Standings:
Paramount 4-1 SGVL, 5-5 overall
Downey 4-1, 5-5
Dominguez 4-1, 7-3
Gahr 2-3, 7-3
Warren 1-4, 1-8-1
Lynwood 0-5, 2-8

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