All good things must come to an end and that was the case for the Aptos High football team on Saturday when they came up short against Valley Christian in the Central Coast Section Division III championship game in San Jose.
The No. 5 Mariners (11-3) came into the title game as the surprise team but in the end they were outplayed by a powerful No. 3 Warriors (7-6) offense in a 51-20 loss at Independence High.
The Mariners were down big at halftime and trailed 34-13 when Valley Christian quarterback Jay MacIntyre threw for three touchdowns (14, 34, 17) and running backs Kirk Johnson and Ryan Severson each ran into the end zone once.
“A big game like this your kids are going to get to a slow start,” said Aptos High coach Randy Blankenship. “It seemed to be that way a little bit and after their first touchdown we needed to answer and we didn’t.”
Aptos High running back Elijah Marta rushed for a team high 125 yards on 21 carries including an 8-yard run in the third quarter that brought them within two touchdowns with 4:22 left on the clock.
Aaron McAnerney was shut down by the Warriors defense for most of the game and only rushed for 8 yards on 5 carries and 4 catches for 44 yards. The senior running back and his team made some minor adjustments at the half but it wasn’t enough for his team to overcome a 21-point deficit.
“We came out of the locker room with a sense of urgency but we just had some turnovers that didn’t go our way,” said McAnerney. “It kind of screwed us over in the end there.”
There’s no doubt the three turnovers didn’t help Aptos High get any closer to Valley Christian’s large lead and not to mention a couple of big third down conversions the Mariners gave up including one in the second quarter that resulted in a Warriors touchdown.
Valley Christian was able to rack up a total of 375 yards on offense and Johnson was able to produce 179 of those yards on the ground on just 8 carries. He was pretty excited about the win and mentioned he couldn’t have done it without some of his teammates.
“I feel great, it’s a good feeling,” he said. “Some of it is me but mostly it’s up front in the line and also [Tim] Ryan, he’s pretty much our all-star. But the line does their thing and I just got to do my part and it ends up good.”
Even though the Mariners weren’t able to bring home a CCS championship to Aptos, the 2012 season was far from a failure. Blankenship was proud of his team’s effort throughout the entire year and Saturday’s disappointing loss.
“The last couple of years we’ve had some great senior leadership so that’s a bit thing that we’re going to have to look forward to,” he said. “But we’re going to take time right now, we’re all going back in the bus together and we’re going to have a celebration in our weight room because it’s been a hell of a year.”
Valley Christian 51 – Aptos 20
@ Independence High
Aptos 0 13 7 0 – 20
Valley Christian 14 20 3 14 – 51
VC – Kirk Johnson 69 run (Kody Kroenig kick), 10:40
VC – Bryce Novak 14 pass from Jay MacIntyre (Kroenig good), 2:24
VC – Ryan Severson 34 pass from MacIntyre (Kroenig kick), 11:49
AH – Brodie Bennet 12 run (Brooks Nicholson kick), 9:16
VC – Brandon Alexander 17 pass from MacIntyre (Kroenig kick), 4:01
VC – Severson 4 run (Kroenig kick), 2:58
AH – Alec Bonsall 9 pass from Alex Joh (kick no good), :00
AH – Elijah Marta 3 run (Nicholson kick), 4:22
VC – Kroenig 34 field goal, :37
VC – MacIntyre 46 fumble return (Kroenig kick), 10:17
VC – Johnson 74 run (Kroenig kick), 3:28
First Downs 20 18
Rushes – Yards 49–212 34–262
Passing Yards 157 113
Comp-Att-Int. 11–19–1 7–9–0
Fumbles-Lost 5–2 0–0
Penalties-Yards 6–55 7–65
RUSHING – Aptos: Brodie Bennet 9-30, Billy Walls 7-32, Elijah Martin 21-125, Aaron McAnerney 5-8, Alex Joh 4-7, Eli Ungerecht 2-8, No. 6 1-2; Valley Christian: Jay MacIntyre 6-32, Kirk Johnson 8-179, Michael Lemus 3-13, Ryan Severson 12-25, Tre McCloud 2-13, Trent Dexheimer 1-2, Michael Machado 2 for minus 2.
PASSING – Aptos: Alex Joh 11-18-157-1, Aaron McAnerney 0-1-0-0; Valley Christian: Jay MacIntyre 7-9-113-0.
RECEIVING – Aptos: Alec Bonsall 6-94, Aaron McAnerney 4-44, Dalton Weitzel 1-19; Valley Christian: Bryce Novak 4-50, Ryan Severson 2-46, Brandon Alexander 1-17.
DEFENSE – Interceptions: Aptos (none), Valley Christian 1 (Jay MacIntyre); Fumble Recoveries: Aptos (none), Valley Christian 2 (Jay MacIntyre, Zach Hughes); Sacks: Aptos 1 (Weston Hinson), Valley Christian (none);
RECORDS: Aptos 11-3, Valley Christian 7-6