Santa Fe Christian players take the field for their bowl game at The Home Depot Center in Carson.
CARSON Santa Fe Christian football coach Nick Ruscetta refused to dwell on the negative.
Despite a 66-7 loss to Modesto Central Catholic on Friday in the CIF Division IV state championship bowl at the Home Depot Center, Ruscetta was upbeat.
“We won our league,” he said. “We won our section, and we’re the Southern California champions.
“Hey, there are more than 1,000 teams that play football in California. We were one of the last 10 playing on the final weekend. So there is a lot to be proud of.
“This trophy,” he added, while holding up the second-place prize, “says a lot about what we accomplished this season.”
The Eagles, who finished 11-4, were 2-3 at one point. They then ran off nine straight wins, beating Francis Parker 31-15 in the San Diego Section Division V title game and Arcadia Rio Hondo 30-28 in the Division IV regional final in the fog at Del Norte High.
Jerry Harper scored the winning touchdown for the Eagles with 2 minutes, 20 seconds left against Rio Hondo.
He scored the team’s only TD Friday on a 67-yard run.
“This season, all we’ve accomplished, is a memory I’ll live with all my life,” defensive coordinator Dan Egan told the team after the game. “For that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Jim Rooney, the Eagles’ special teams coach and one of the younger coaches on the staff, also addressed the players.
“Don’t throw away everything we’ve done all season because of this,” Rooney said. “Be proud of what you accomplished.”
Ruscetta was indeed proud of his Eagles.
“What a great experience this was,” Ruscetta said. “You hope you’ll get another chance to win a state championship, but you never know.
“So despite the loss, I want this team to cherish what they accomplished this season and the fact they had a chance to win a state title.”"