By Alex A. Gonzalez
ANAHEIM —The Downey Vikings (12-2) (4-1) offense exploded to a 19-point lead over the Cypress Centurions (13-1) (5-0) and never looked back en route to a 40-7 win at Handel Field Friday night taking the title as Division 4 CIF-SS champions.
Oregon State commit Aidan Chiles completed 10-14 passes for 237 yards with three passing touchdowns, and Jaylen Crutchfield led the Viking ground game with eight carries for 141 yards and two touchdowns.
“It’s special. You know… with this group of guys and the seniors. From day one, they talked about winning a ring,” said Downey Head Coach Jack Williams. “We had our setbacks on day one with Corona Del Mar, and we took the big lop-sided loss against Warren, and they kept fighting and battling.
With the adjustment to move Crutchfield to running back midway through the season, he got the Viking offense off to a quick start with his first carry going for 23 yards. Three plays later, he took back-to-back handoffs, with the second being a nine-yard touchdown run, capping the five-play drive.
Following a turnover on downs possession by the Centurions that ended their first drive midway through the first quarter, Downey returned to work with another scoring drive. This time, Chiles was able to thread the needle with his pass to Bryant Carey, who hauled it in for the 28-yard score, extending their lead to 13-0 after the missed point after attempt.
Cypress’ struggles continued on their next drive as it ended after one play due to quarterback Aiden Houston fumbling the ball away and falling into the hands of the Vikings defense, setting them up with a short field.
Chiles was able to extend his team’s lead in the opening minutes of the second quarter as he was able to exploit the mismatches of the Centurion’s defense for his second touchdown pass of the night. This time, Keion Andrew was on the receiving end of the 19-yard pass, extending their lead again.
“That kid is great. I tell him that all the time. I love him.” commented Andrew about Chiles after the game.
The scoring drought ended for Cypress on their ensuing drive as they were able to find success with their running game, resulting in a touchdown before the halftime whistle. Tailbacks Rocco Burdett and Nathan Schneider split the carries that helped their offense set up Houston, who capped the seven-play drive with his connection to Matthew Morrell for the 28-yard score with 4:24 left in the second quarter.
That was more than enough time for the Vikings, as they were able to respond with a touchdown 22 seconds later. Crutchfield’s one-play, 76-yard run added six more points for the Vikings as they headed into halftime up 26-7.
Downey’s offense slowed down in the second half as they added two more scores in the third period. After a holding call that negated his rushing touchdown, Chiles hooked up with Carey for the second time after he juggled the reception as he outran the Centurions defense for the 94-yard score.
“They called my touchdown back early, so I was like BJ, let’s take it off,” said Chiles after the game.
Then with 33 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Andrew reached pay dirt for the second time when he took the handoff and scampered his way into the end zone, giving his team a 40-7 advantage before the second unit took the field for the final 12 minutes of play.
“It’s amazing, man. It’s the best feeling in the world,” commented Chiles postgame. “We were the better team in the beginning. That’s a great team over there, but at the same time, we were the better team. I don’t care about rankings. I don’t care about records. We were the better team. We came out and showed that.”