By Alex Gonzalez
(Covina) — South Hills capped a perfect 14-0 season Saturday night defeating the Oxnard Yellowjackets 23-14 in the CIF-SS Division 6 Final at Covina District Field. It was the Huskies seventh CIF Championship in school history.
“It feels great. I’m so proud of the work that was put into this thing because sometimes you can work hard but it doesn’t always pay off,” said South Hills Head Coach Matt Bechtel. “I feel like finally, all the work, all the time, all the effort, all the energy makes it worth it.”
To start, the South Hill defense, who allowed only 12 points in the postseason, was the first to put points on the board after Jordan Sanchez stuffed Vincent Walea in his end zone for a safety.
Less than two minutes later, the Husky offense added seven more when Khalil Ali found Steven “Bubba” Munoz in the flat for the 3-yard touchdown score.
Oxnard tried to rally back on their ensuing possession and was able to move the ball down the field, but with back-to-back 15-yard penalties the drive stalled and they turned the ball over when Walea tried to sneak his way for the first down with 11:20 remaining in the second quarter.
South Hills couldn’t capitalize on the turnover and gave the ball back to the Yellowjackets. Their defense, however, took matters into their own hands after Jorge Salinas picked off Walea’s pass and returned it for the score, extending his team’s lead 16-0 before intermission.
Just before the half, the Huskies had an opportunity to add six more to their lead but Juaquin Elliot fumbled the ball on the Oxnard four and it was recovered by the Yellowjackets. On the very next play, Walea dropped back and found JR Waters deep, who then outran the defense and gave Oxnard their first score of the night with 1:17 left in the quarter.
Following the break, the Huskies continued to add points in the third while holding the Yellowjackets scoreless. Elliot broke the game open when he found a hole up the middle and bolted for the end zone, extending the lead to 23-7 following the extra point.
Oxnard then got tricky in the fourth quarter when they executed a double reverse flea-flicker pass to Tanielu Lemalu who was alone in the corner in the end zone early in the frame.
The Yellowjackets defense was able to deny the Huskies more points in the final quarter but couldn’t find a way to cross the end zone due to South Hills doing the same on consecutive drives preventing any chance at a comeback.
“I’m so proud of my guys. We did what we were supposed to do, period.” Said Ali after the game. “Everyone on this team was all in, every single one of them.”