On Friday night in San Diego County, the Division II Central High Spartans, and the Division III Imperial High Tigers football teams both fell in CIF-San Diego Section Divisional quarterfinal playoffs games.

Both teams surrendered quick touchdowns yet recovered and fought back to end their 2023 playoff runs within one score of moving on to the CIF semi-finals.

La Jolla 28 Central 22

SAN DIEGO- At La Jolla High School, the Division II sixth-seeded Imperial Valley League champion Central Spartans lost to the third-seeded Eastern League champion La Jolla High Vikings by a score of 28-22.

Following a short opening kickoff by Central, on the first play of the game from their 46-yard line, La Jolla senior 6鈥3鈥 quarterback Jackson Diehl raced 34 yards to the twelve-yard line and the Vikings then scored on the next play and a little over a minute into the game La Jolla lead 7-0.

Following a Central punt on their first possession, on second down at the Viking 31-yard line, Diehl, under pressure from the Spartan rush, scrambled, then reversed field and out-ran the Spartan defense to the end zone.

Trailing 14-0 less than a minute before half-time, Central went on a two-play, 35-yard drive, with sophomore quarterback Luis Jimenez, passing to junior tight-end Jared Martin for 33 yards to the Viking two-yard line.

The pass set up Central鈥檚 Wildcat offense with junior Nico Viesca rushing for the touchdown with 11 seconds to go to half-time and Spartan junior Miguel Vega鈥檚 PAT cut the La Jolla lead to 14-7.

Central then took the second-half opening kickoff and went 90-yard-drive in just three plays to tie the game at 14-14.

After two running plays, Jimenez threw a 79-yard touchdown pass to senior Artie Estrada over the middle which Estrada, who overall had 178 receiving yards, caught at the 26-yard line, pivoted, and then outraced the Viking defense to the end zone.

La Jolla, however, reclaimed the lead on their next possession with Diehl scoring the last play of the third quarter on a 13-yard touchdown run.

On the Vikings' next possession after forcing a Central punt, La Jolla scored on back-to-back passes from Diehl, the first 39 yards followed by a 28-yard touchdown strike to brother Carson Diehl to go up 28-14.

Late in the fourth quarter, Jimenez, who passed for 263 yards in the game, drove Central 83 yards on six plays completing four of five passes with Central again using the Wildcat formation for a two-yard touchdown run by Viesca.

Trailing 28- 20, and trying to leave the door open to a potential win, Pena went for the two-point conversion, and Viesca, who rushed for 87 yards in the game in limited action, again delivered making it a 28-22 game.

The ensuing Central on-side kick failed, the Spartans ending the Spartan season under coach David Pena with an overall record of 9-3.

For the Spartan defense, juniors Martin and Josiel Rodriguez each had five solo tackles, one being for a loss, while Martin added two quarterback hurries and a sack.

Fallbrook 27 Imperial 21

FALLBROOK- The Imperial Tigers, the lone Southeastern Conference member in the Division III were eliminated from the CIF-SDS quarter-finals, losing to the host Fallbrook High Warriors by a score of 27-21 here Friday night.

The Division III seventh-seeded Tigers (8-4, 2-2 IVL) fell behind the second-seed Fallbrook Warriors (4-6, 1-4 Palomar League) on the first play from scrimmage.

Taking possession on their own 24-yard line after the opening kick-off, Warrior senior running back Chris Bausch raced 76 yards for a touchdown, and 21 seconds into the game Imperial trailed 7-0.

Unfazed, the Tigers answered with a 12-play, 69-yard drive which was capped by the first of three touchdown passes from junior quarterback Jayden Ayala to 6鈥5鈥 sophomore receiver Gio Robles covering 6 yards.

Imperial senior placekicker Joel Robles鈥 PAT tied the game at 7-7 but Fallbrook came right back with a 69-yard touchdown on a reverse-option pass by Bausch and after the PAT was blocked by the Tigers the score was 13-7.

Fallbrook scored again on a long 12-play, 79-yard drive Bausch going in on a one-yard run to put the Warriors up 20-7 at half-time.

After Fallbrook increased their lead to 27-7 in the third quarter, Ayala led the Tigers on a 6-play, 67-drive again connected with Gio Robles on a 26-yard touchdown pass and Joel Robles鈥 PAT made the score 27-14.

Imperial junior linebacker JJ Jimenez then came up with a pass interception deep in Fallbrook territory setting up a one-yard touchdown pass from Ayala to Gio Robles and the PAT made the score 27-21 with four minutes left in the game but the Tigers would not score again.

For Imperial, Ayala would complete seven of sixteen passes for 90 yards and his three touchdown passes gave him 16 for the season, while Jimenez was the Tigers leading rusher with 54 yards on eleven carries. 11/35 Castro, 40/8 Reeves 229 yards but ..

While Imperial ended their season six points short, for the second consecutive year under coach David Shaw the Tigers finished with 8-4 record.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.