Senior Trent Sauls is a defensive end, tight end and occasional running back for Christian.
Two years ago, when Christian High won the section Division V championship, Trent Sauls resisted the urge to kid his older brother.
Though Tyrone Sauls was a two-sport star and posted some gaudy numbers on the football field, a section title eluded him.
“He never got that championship ring and I did,” said the younger of the two brothers who have helped Christian become a small-school power the last seven years. “But I didn’t kid him or make fun. Heck, I did it for him, too.”
The brothers are close enough that when Tyrone left the Air Force Academy and returned home this fall, he has attended every one of Trent’s games, watching as the Patriots won their way into Saturday’s San Diego Section Division III championship game against San Marcos at Mesa College.
For one season, when Trent was a freshman, the two were able to play side by side, the older brother showing the youngster the ropes.
But now Trent — a 6-foot, 230-pound defensive end, tight end and occasional running back, who has gained 730 yards and made 71 tackles — will play a pivotal role. He relishes the opportunity.
“This is the chance to make my own name,” said Trent. “This year’s team is better than the one that won two years ago. We have a very strong bond. Even the one loss we should have won.”
He remembered how the Patriots led Mission Bay by 17 points midway through the third quarter only to allow a long kickoff return to ignite the Buccaneers, who went on to hand Christian its only setback in 12 games.
Sauls said that was early in the season, before the core players of the club were in as good a shape as they are now. Plus, it was hot, which certainly won’t be the case Saturday night.
Either way, Sauls likes the challenge of playing up two divisions this season.
“This isn’t a little Division V championship,” he said. “It’s a real challenge.”
Coach Matt Oliver couldn’t be more impressed than he is with Trent.
“He and Tyrone are similar, but Trent is more outgoing and fun in the locker room and around school,” said Oliver. “On the field, he’s always fully serious. I think he’s blessed with more speed and size and he’s always in the weight room, getting stronger.”
Sauls would like to do something that probably won’t happen — sing the national anthem before the game.
He’s in the Patriot Praise singing group on campus and sings in the choir at Faith Chapel church. That’s where the outgoing part of his personality arises.
“If I could sing and then play,” he said, “how cool would that be?”