Santa Fe Christian’s first venture into the State bowl regional playoffs was against Arcadia Rio Hondo Prep, a Southern California small schools power for almost 40 years.
‘Hondo had won 10, eight-man championships and was runner-up four times since 1973 before moving up to 11-man football.
But the Eagles’ fought to a come-from-behind, 30-28 victory over the Kares, propelling Santa Fe into next week’s IV State Bowl Championship at noon at Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson against Modesto Central Catholic.
Trailing 14-0, 21-14, and 28-24, coach Nick Ruscetta’s hustlers from Encinitas continually battled back and scored with 2:20 remaining in the game.
Big play in the winning, 52-yard drive was a 37-yard run by quarterback Hunter Vaccaro, who rushed 12 times for 165 and two touchdowns. Vaccaro’s dash set up a three-yard touchdown run by Jerry Harper.
Santa Fe Christian (11-3) faces a formidable foe next week. The Central Catholic Raiders are 13-2 with a CalPreps power rating of 46, compared to the Eagles’ 26.
Central Catholic defeated Oakland McClymonds 42-12 in the Northern regional last week, after knocking off Escalon 52-10 in the Sac-Joaquin Section finals.
Two years ago Escalon beat Madison 30-14 in the State Bowl III championship.