One of the definitions in the dictionary for the word team is “a number of persons forming one of the sides in a game or contest” and there couldn’t be a better example this year then the Aptos High football squad.
The Mariners got off to a bad start in the season after they loss to Encinal High 12-11 and to Oakdale High 35-14. Yet, they managed to pull themselves together by winning eleven straight, including two in the playoffs, en route to their second consecutive Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League title.
On Saturday No. 5 Aptos (11-2) will have an opportunity to bring home a Central Coast Section Division III championship when they take on No. 3 Valley Christian (6-6) at Independence High School in San Jose.
This is the third time in Aptos High’s history that they will be able to compete in the title game and the first time since they beat Hollister 26-12 back in 2003.
As for Valley Christian, a taste of the CCS playoffs is nothing new to them as they hold a 23-10 record in the postseason and 4-4 in title games. The four victories came in consecutive years from 2002 to 2005.
The Mariners has averaged 389 yards and 36 points per game and is led by senior running back Aaron McAnerney who rushed for 173 yards, caught five passes, and scored three TDs in last week’s big time win over No. 1 Monterey High.
His partner in crime Elijah Marta was also a big factor in the CCS D-III semifinals with 141 yards on the ground and two touchdowns on 18 carries.
Hopefully the Mariners can keep up their run attack and get in the end zone against a Valley Christian defense that gave up an average of 31 points during the season.
But don’t let Valley Christian’s record fool you, they led the West Catholic Athletic League in offense that averaged 60.6 passing yards, 285.8 rushing yards and 41.4 points per game.
And not to mention they play in a tough league that features powerhouse teams like St. Ignatius, Serra, and Bellarmine Prep.
The Warriors offense is led by senior running back Ryan Seveson and sophomore running back Kirk Johnson. In last week’s 52-42 semifinals win against Sobrato High, Johnson ran for 241 yards and 4 TDs on 17 carries as the Warriors advanced to the CCS Division III title game.
Seveson has rushed for 1927 yards on 154 carries and 28 rushing touchdowns on the season and will go up against a solid Aptos High defense that has given up an average of 249 yards and 20 points per game.
It’s going to be a tough battle for Aptos High this Saturday afternoon and they can’t let Valley Christian get off a fast start by allowing Seveson and Johnson come away with big plays for long gains.
The Mariners should be able to get the run game going early with McAnerney and Marta and that will allow the pass game to open up for junior quarterback Alex Joh. A strong rushing game and solid defensive play will bring home the CCS D-III to Aptos.
My Prediction: I think the run game is too much for Valley Christian and it catches them off guard. The defense will also come together to make crucial stops when called on and I say watch for a key turnover late in the game.
Aptos – 38
Valley Christian – 31
CCS DIVISION III CHAMPIONSHIP
WHAT: No. 5 Aptos (10-2) vs. No. 3 Valley Christian (6-6)
WHEN: 3 p.m.
WHERE: Independence High, 1776 Educational Park Drive, San Jose