Saints wide receiver Ryan Harris hauls in a pass for a 60-yard TD in St. Augustine’s Division II semifinal win.
Sixty-nine seconds in, St. Augustine poked a sizable hole in Imperial’s interior defense.
Quarterback Joe Joe Hudson heaved the football down the right sideline to Ryan Harris, who broke the plane for a 60-yard touchdown.
After a Tigers fumble, Saints poked another hole, this time a 3-yard scamper into the end zone by Tyler Herburger.
Then another. And another, until the floodgates just burst open, providing them a 42-0 halftime cushion.
“We were hitting on all cylinders,” said St. Augustine coach Richard Sanchez.
Scoring touchdowns on seven of its first eight possessions, St. Augustine thrashed Imperial, defeating the No. 3-seeded Tigers 56-12 at Mesa College on Wednesday.
With the victory, the Saints booked their trip to the CIF Division II championship at Qualcomm stadium Monday where they meet Mission Bay, which beat Rancho Buena Vista.
It’s the Saints’ second consecutive finals appearance.
“Defensively, we put our best player (Frank Buncom IV) on their receiver, stacked underneath him was Quinn Seau, our best linebacker, and stacked under him was our best defensive lineman in Deric Vierra so they could play both sides of the ball to stop (Royce Freeman) and (Chris Carter),” Sanchez said.
Freeman, the all-time career section rushing leader, finished with 168 yards on 20 carries.
The Saints nearly tripled that.
Sophomore Elijah Preston plowed his way through the Tigers’ defensive line, tallying 264 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries in addition to 203 yards and four touchdowns combined from Francoise Sims III and Herburger.
Punting once, St. Augustine had 475 rushing yards, along with 137 yards passing from Hudson.
“We were outmanned and outclassed … on the field. Their coach is classless,” said Imperial coach Kerry Legarra, referring to St. Augustine’s decision to convert a fourth down up 49-6 midway through the third quarter on its own 34.
“But they’re the better team. We can play them 10-out-of-10 and we still wouldn’t beat them.”