Trinity Classical Academy’s winning streak, coupled with Santa Clarita Christian’s struggles, pointed to a different 2016 Faith Bowl than last year’s lopsided first edition of the crosstown rivalry.
Instead, it was same story, different year.
The Cardinals offense overcame a slow start, and their defense never let the Knights out of the gate in a 42-2 rout at Canyon High on Saturday night, keeping SCCS from starting the season 0-5.
“We were 0-4 and it was our rivals so it was imperative that we won the game,” said SCCS running back Seth Yu as he munched on a bag of postgame popcorn. “… I don’t know if I could live with (a loss).”
Yu did the entertaining most of the night, rushing for 62 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries.
His 7-yard score at the 3:07 mark in the first quarter gave the Cardinals a 7-2 lead after Trinity (3-2) had recorded a safety minutes earlier.
Yu scored from 14 yards out shortly before halftime to send SCCS to the locker room with a 14-2 lead.
In the inaugural Faith Bowl, a matchup of the Santa Clarita Valley’s private Christian high schools, the Cardinals trailed 18-14 at half before going on to a 42-18 win.
Trinity’s defense scored all three touchdowns that night, and Saturday its offense had similar struggles.
Standout wide receiver Ryan DeMarois injured his shoulder on the opening kickoff and didn’t return to the game. The absence left the Knights reeling and, 28 SCCS second-half points later, looking for answers.
“You never plan for this,” said Trinity coach Les Robinson. “You just don’t plan for this. I tell people all the time I’m surprised when we lose.”
A natural mentality for a coach whose team overcame an 18-0 deficit to win a game earlier this year.
SCCS wasn’t having it.
The Cardinals swarmed to Trinity running back Caden Kulp, dropping him for zero or negative yards nine times. Kulp gained 46 yards on 25 carries for a Knights offense that struggled to find any rhythm in the passing game.
SCCS intercepted quarterback Tyler Lee four times (Kade Kalinske had two), with Jacob Moss returning one of them 60 yards deep into Trinity territory.
He caught a 15-yard TD from Tristan Miller moments later to open the second-half scoring.
Moss caught 10 passes for 125 yards in the game. Miller completed 24-of-39 pass attempts for 296 yards and two touchdowns.
He hit Tyler Kalinske for a 61-yard scoring pass late in the third quarter to make it 28-2 and all but seal an overdue first win. The Cardinals lost three of their first four games by an average of five points.
Five, four or even three points would have secured a win Saturday, as Kalinske chased down Kulp in the backfield for a loss on fourth and 1 from the SCCS 2 in the third quarter.
Trinity turned the ball over on downs three times after halftime, the last of which came at their own 3 with less than two minutes to play.
From there, backup quarterback Blake Kirshner threw a TD to Blaike Orth to set the final score.
“It was a little scary at the beginning when we got that safety,” Moss said. “But we picked it up. I can honestly say we’ve never played that hard before.”
The Cardinals donned gray “Faith Bowl champion” T-shirts after the game. But coach Garrick Moss knows, despite the rivalry trophy, his team hasn’t won anything yet.
“We can enjoy this one, but not for too long,” he said. “We have to be ready: League is what matters.”
The Cardinals open San Joaquin League play next week against The Webb Schools of Claremont.
Trinity plays McAuliffe of Lancaster at College of the Canyons on Saturday.