By Tim Peterson
If you would have told me in October that Northview would be the CIF Division 10 champions and would also be competing for a state championship next weekend I would have told you that I would be the next head football coach at USC.
Well the Trojans chose Lincoln Riley over me, (go figure), but the Vikings are the CIF champs and headed to the state finals. Northview did it the hard way. The Vikes started the season 2-5 before going on a run. They stumbled once, against Los Altos, they may have pulled their starters too early, but have won five straight since.
Nobody thought they would beat Kaiser, a team that racked up over 600 yards the previous week, in the second round. The Vikes not only beat Kaiser, they shut the Cats down and beat them up 42-13. Ok that’s fine but then they had to hit the road for Palmdale.
Palmdale is a team that had just dropped 58 points on Covina. And keep in mind Covina beat Northview back in September. So this was a no brainer right? Palmdale, at home, on a cold night, wins…by a lot. Turns out the ones with no brains were the ones that picked against Marcel Perez’ crew. Um… that may have or may not have been me. The Vikings won by two touchdowns 28-14.
Northview now had everybody’s attention and they took care of St. Anthony. There’s your CIF title. Now State and ok first round – Colony. The Titans won the CIF Division 9 title, one division higher than Northview. And this is Colony, a team that has athletes all over the field including a quarterback, AJ Jones, that is committed to Arizona. He will be playing receiver for Arizona but he is going to Arizona.
Colony looked the part of the dominant team taking a 26-7 lead when Bryce Strong retuned the opening kickoff of the third quarter 93 yards for a touchdown. Now Northview was done right? Wrong.
The Vikings scored the next 20 points including the game tying touchdown by Ronal Tebo Jr. from one yard out with 21 seconds left. Joseph Gutierrez then booted the extra point for the win.
How did Northview do it? Well, a strong running attack with Tebo Jr. and Cheo Medina, some clutch throws by James Arellanes to Erik Saiz and Mike Cervantes and an offensive line that paved the way for the ground game and protected Arellanes.
Then there was the defense that held Colony scoreless the entire second half. The only Titan touchdown in the second half was the kickoff return. In other words it was the entire team. A team that seems to be at its best when its back is against the wall.
When Perez was asked after the CIF Championship win over St. Anthony what the difference was between this team and previous Northview teams he responded, “It’s just that. They are a team, you know? It was not one guy. It was the whole team from practice players and scout players. I mean, everybody had a huge part in this.”
So now it’s on to the State Championship game next Saturday night in San Francisco. Someone will pick against them but it won’t be me. I’ve seen this too many times this year. Northview has been down but never out.
All year, Northview has done it the hard way but Perez has made it easy for me. What is always a difficult choice is now going to be easy. When all the games have been played and the season is officially over and it’s time to select Coach of the Year it’s going to be a slam dunk.
That’s my principle.
Tim an be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @tspeterson40. Facebook-Tim Peterson