D4: Central Catholic cruises to 1st CIF state title

Posted on December 14, 2012 by

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Central Catholic players Rey Vega and Chris Lein jump into their crowd of supporters after their team defeated Santa Fe Christian to win CIF Division IV state bowl crown. Photo by Scott Kurtz.

Central Catholic players Rey Vega and Chris Lein jump into their crowd of supporters after their team defeated Santa Fe Christian to win CIF Division IV state bowl crown. Photo by Scott Kurtz.

Raiders outclass Santa Fe Christian 66-7 in matchup decided well before halftime. Underclass player of the game also would be one of the most inspirational of the season.

Written by Harold Abend

To say the Central Catholic of Modesto win over Santa Fe Christian of Solana Beach was the most dominating victory in any division in the seven-year history of the CIF bowl games would be a bit of an understatement.

Not only was the 66 points the most ever for a Division IV game, it was the most points scored in any game. In fact, nine other bowl game records were broken in the game and two were tied.

The 59-point winning margin surpassed the 52 points of the 59-7 victory by St. Margaret’s of San Juan Capistrano over Hamilton Union (Hamilton City) in the 2008 Division IV contest.

“We didn’t think it would be this easy,” said Central Catholic head coach Roger Canepa, who finished his 29th season of coaching (fifth at Central Catholic) with his first state title. “Coming off of beating Escalon and McClymonds, we had a great start tonight. When we get going like that, it just wears on you. Six-yard runs become 12 yards, then 60.”

As a team, the Raiders rushed for a record 521 yards, besting the 475 yards for Concord De La Salle in its 48-8 victory over Anaheim Servite in the 2010 Open Division game.

Central Catholic (14-2) also had a record 577 total yards, breaking the 527 yards of the 2010 De La Salle team. The 751 combined total yards was also a record, besting the 2010 mark of 724 yards for De La Salle and Servite.

In total, Central Catholic rushed for nine TDs as a team, breaking the seven by De La Salle in 2010 and St. Margaret’s in 2008.

Despite only carrying the ball six times, Rey Vega rushed for a Division IV record 202 yards, surpassing the 196 yards rushing in 2007 by Louis Bland of Central Catholic. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Vega also set a record for the longest rush and longest rush for a touchdown in any division with an 80-yard run to go with a 60-yard run to pay dirt the first time he touched the ball. He also had TD runs of 10 and six yards, giving him four touchdowns rushing, a number that tied John Murayama of the 2008 St. Margaret’s team.

For his efforts, Vega has been named the Cal-Hi Sports Offensive Player of the Game, an honor which gets listed in the state record book.

Ray Lomas added 183 yards on 16 carries with three touchdowns. On Central Catholic’s first possession after taking the opening kickoff, he carried all six plays for 75 yards, culminating in a 4-yard TD run that started the onslaught.

A bulk of Central Catholic's CIF state bowl record rushing yards came on plays to Spencer Stark's side of the field.

A bulk of Central Catholic’s CIF state bowl record rushing yards came on plays to Spencer Stark’s side of the field.

The Raiders actually scored on their first nine possessions, and led 49-0 before Santa Fe Christian running back Jerry Harper bolted 67 yards for the Eagles’ only score.

The Central Catholic defense got into the act as well.

Joey Abbate had two interceptions to tie the mark held by two others for the most interceptions in a Division IV Bowl Game. Tyler Johnson also had an interception and three tackles for loss. Reggie Bland had a fumble recovery.

Central Catholic improved to 1-1 in bowl games and the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section improves its overall record to 5-6 in bowl games.

Santa Fe Christian finishes the season at 11-5.

Defensive Player of the Game:
Joey Abbate (Central Catholic) 5-7, 160, Sr.

In the postseason, Abbate has been a pick machine for the Raiders. He came up with two in the state final against Santa Fe Christian to give him six for the playoffs and a team-leading 11 for the season. Abbatte also broke up a pass. His top outing may have come in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D4 final with two interceptions and nine tackles when Central Catholic defeated Escalon 52-10.

Underclass Player of the Game:
Spencer Stark (Central Catholic) 6-2, 305, Jr.

It was a dominating performance by Spencer on both sides of the ball, playing up front on the nose or continuously turning his man inside or out on running plays. He gained attention for an unfortunate reason two weeks ago when his father, John, died unexpectedly from a blood clot. Spencer played the next day when the Raiders beat Escalon 52-10 to win the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV title.

“He played great,” Canepa said. “For a kid to lose his father and play the next day was just unbelievable. We all wanted to go out there and win for all the right reasons and (winning for him) was one of them.”

This time, we’re giving Stark notoriety for how he played and how he looked as a player. He shows a quick first step at his size and averaged three to four tackles per game on the season.

Note: Junior running back Jerry Harper got the Eagles on the board late in the second quarter on a 66-yard run and also played linebacker. He might be a college prospect as a safety.

Comments or corrections? Email markjtennis@gmail.com.