By Nate Graham
For The Signal
A shot at a perfect season and CIF-Southern Section championship just weren’t in the cards for Santa Clarita Christian.
A combination of penalties, crucial dropped passes and an inability to stop the running game doomed SCCS (11-1 overall) Friday night after the Cardinals lost to Santa Clara, 35-14, in the second round of the CIF-SS Division 13 playoffs.
The Cardinals didn’t get on the board until late in the second quarter, after quarterback Blake Kirshner dinked and dunked his way down the field to an easy 1-yard quarterback sneak, cutting Santa Clara’s to 14-7.
In the second half, Kirshner led a 55-yard drive down the field to score his second rushing touchdown which helped trim the deficit to 21-14 with less than seven minutes left in the third. But that was the closest the Cardinals got to Santa Clara.
The Saints (10-2) drove the ball down the field to score on a play-action pass to seal the game. Santa Clara also managed to score in the last minute.
In the first half, Santa Clara blew the game open early in the first quarter to take a 14-0 in the first quarter. SCCS defense was able to keep the Saints out of the end zone after the quick two scores, but they have to do it after star linebacker Tommy Shields left the game during the first quarter with a dislocated shoulder.
Although the season ended in the loss, the Cardinals coach Chazz Anderson should be happy with his team’s deep playoff run and perfect regular season record. SCCS recorded six losses last season before Anderson took the realms.
With the win, Santa Clara will play Orange High School on Nov. 24 in the semifinal game of Division 13.