Santa Fe Christian tacklers try to corral running back Rey Vega of Modesto Central Catholic, which compiled 534 rushing yards.
CARSON Nick Ruscetta pointed to his clipboard with the scripted offensive game plan that contained about 25 plays he thought would work in Santa Fe Christian’s Division IV state bowl game against Modesto Central Catholic on Friday.
Pointing to the fourth play on his list, he knew the Eagles were in deep trouble.
“We’d only gained about five yards at that point,” the head coach said. “Those were the best plays we thought would work against them.
“We wanted to control the ball, punt and put them deep in their territory.”
But the Eagles had one problem. They couldn’t knock the Raiders off the line of scrimmage.
Not only did Central Catholic pile up 590 total yards, including 467 yards by halftime, Santa Fe Christian never did solve the Raiders’ defense. That’s why the Eagles gained just 172 yards in the game.
Add in four interceptions and a fumble and you get a better idea of the magnitude of the task that faced the San Diego Section Division V champions in their first state bowl game from the outset.
“We got outsized, pure and simple,” said Eagles quarterback Hunter Vaccaro, who was in street clothes the second half after injuring his throwing shoulder in the first half while making a tackle on defense. “After the first drive, I knew this wouldn’t be easy.
“When you’re outsized so badly, that’s all she wrote.”
Santa Fe Christian’s lone shining moment on offense came in the second quarter.
Trailing 49-0 at the time, the Eagles scored their lone touchdown on Jerry Harper’s 67-yard romp through the center of Central Catholic’s defense with 48 seconds left before halftime.
Central Catholic got the TD back on its next drive with Rey Vega’s 80-yard run to the end zone just 12 seconds from halftime.
“Even on film, they looked like some of those old San Pasqual teams that would just roll you all night,’’ Ruscetta said. “It’s physics. They were too big for us to move them.
“Teams point to players, coaches and scheme. Central Catholic had all three.
“Offensively, we had to be perfect to keep them close and we couldn’t do that.’’
Ruscetta still maintained playing in the game, despite the lopsided score, was worth it for the Eagles.
“The boys will talk about this at the reunion in 10 years,” Ruscetta said. “We were one of only 10 teams that had a chance to win a state title.
“I wish we could have made it a little more competitive, but it is what it is.”"