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Cal Football

Friday Night Lights For Cal Commits

December 16, 2019

This past Friday, with the high school football playoffs nearing the end, we saw the final chapter for two of our Cal commits and added a new commit to the action, setting the stage for one final game next week.

State Champs

First, we had the California Division 1-AA State Championship between Central High School and Sierra Canyon High School. Despite a very close game, Sierra Canyon was able to pull off the victory thanks to a stellar performance from Bronny Ja… sorry, wrong sport.

Central started the game with the ball, but quickly turned it over with a fumble. Sierra Canyon was unable to capitalize, turning the ball over on downs in the red zone. Central would take over, and after a solid drive, they would find the end zone with a 34-yard touchdown pass. However, the special teams struggles from last week continued for Central, as they missed the PAT.

Down 6-0, Sierra Canyon did little on their next drive and had to punt. Central would then turn it over on downs on the last full possession of the first quarter. Sierra Canyon, now with the ball, marched down the field but had to settle for a field goal. With the score now 6-3 in favor of Central, they took less than a minute to find an answer, as Cal commit Jeremiah Hunter‍ took a screen pass for a 65-yard touchdown. This time, Central would convert the PAT to go up 13-3.

The two teams traded possessions in their next few possessions, but Sierra Canyon would get the ball near midfield with under a minute remaining in the first half and quickly were able to take advantage of the good field position with a field goal in the final seconds of the first half. With a great effort so far from Cal commit Ricky Correia‍ and the Central defense as well as a few big plays on offense, Central was able to take a 13-6 lead into the half. 

Sierra Canyon started with the ball in the second half, but the Central defense quickly forced a punt. However, Central would give the ball right back after an interception. This time, Sierra Canyon was able to take advantage of the turnover, as they scored a 72-yard rushing touchdown on the very next play. After missing the PAT, Central was now up 13-12.

Central was quick to answer once again, as they drove down the field on their very next drive, scoring on a rushing touchdown from five yards out and converting the PAT. With Central leading 20-12, the two teams would trade possessions a few times, with Central possessing the ball at the end of the third quarter.

On that drive, Central was able to extend its lead to 14 points after a touchdown and, of course, a missed PAT. With about eight minutes remaining, Sierra Canyon would turn it over on downs on their next possession. After forcing a Central punt, Sierra Canyon took over on their own 7-yard line but was able to drive down the field and punch it in with a one-yard rushing touchdown. After converting the PAT, Central was up 26-19.

With it being a one-score game and with time winding down, Sierra Canyon opted to try for an onside kick. While they were unsuccessful, they quickly were able to stop the Central offense and force a punt. They took over on their own four-yard line with two minutes remaining and a chance to drive down the field and tie the game. However, the Central defense would force a safety, and to add insult to injury, they would add another touchdown before the end of the game. The final score was 35-19, and Central—along with Hunter and Correia—was victorious.

A New Commit

Cal received an early holiday gift with a commitment from 3-star Texas wide receiver Mason Mangum‍ on December 12, just two days before his semifinal matchup in the Texas 6A D2 State playoffs. Mangum and Westlake High School had already dominated in each of their first four games in the 32-team tournament, and they now faced Katy Taylor High School for a chance to play in the State Championship.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much to report from the game. Fortunately however, that is a good thing, as Westlake completely dominated Katy Taylor from the opening kickoff on their way to a 63-3 victory. Even better, it was Mangum who led the explosive offensive effort, with six catches for 155 yards and three touchdowns as he and his team cruised to victory. They will play Guyer High School next week in the championship game in the large school division.

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