Tigers looking to be last team standing
— One local prep football team, San Jacinto (Division 6), and one semi-local team, Rancho Verde (Division 8), went into their CIF Southern Section semifinals round Friday, Nov. 18, but only one came out victorious.
San Jacinto (11-2), coming off a seven-game win streak, went into the semifinal round looking to advance to the finals for the fourth time ever, and first time since 2018. Calabasas (8-5), who advanced to the semifinals with a 35-14 win over Ramona, was looking to ruin the Tigers plans.
On their home field, San Jacinto stuck to the running game against the Coyotes, which paid off, especially with seconds winding down in the fourth quarter. Tiger running back, Malachi Brown scored with 20 seconds remaining, which was followed by QB Dereun Dortch, who ran in the two-point conversion as San Jacinto rallied for a 15-14 victory over Calabasas, advancing them to the CIF-Southern Section Division 6 Finals.
Dortch totaled more than 150 all-purpose yards in the second half as San Jacinto (11-2 overall) won its eighth consecutive game overall. The Tigers will now get set to play Orange High School in the championship game Friday, Nov. 25, at Fred Kelly Stadium at El Modena High School. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
In their Division 8 matchup, Rancho Verde (5-8) was looking for a victory over Lakewood (8-5) in order to reach the section finals for the eighth time and first time since 2018. The Mustangs beat top-seeded Brentwood to open the postseason and advanced to the semifinals with a 53-25 victory over Elsinore last week. Landon Debruyn, who passed for 275 yards and four touchdown last week, was looking to help carry Rancho Verde, but the Lancers held off a late threat to secure a 24-19 victory.
Rancho Verde’s offense was on fire in the first half with Debruyn throwing for three touchdowns, giving the Mustangs a 19-10 halftime lead. Lakewood’s defense stepped up in the second half, coming up with three crucial quarterback sacks on the Mustangs final drive. Despite coming up five yards and one play short of defeating the Lancers, Rancho Verde had a great season after dropping their first five games. Lakewood will play in the Division 8 Finals this week against Northwood, who defeated Vista del Lago 41-14.
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JP Raineri can be reached by email at email@example.com.