Fresh off a bye week, SCCS football looking to continue its winning ways

The Santa Clarita Christian football team runs onto the field before their game against St. Bernard at Canyon High School last season. Dan Watson / The Signal

Traveling south to the city of Temecula, the Santa Clarita Christian School Cardinals will face off against the Rancho Christian Eagles at Rancho Christian High School today.

The Cardinals (4-1) are coming off their bye week after the 56-28 Faith Bowl win over Trinity, and the rest has been much deserved.

“We needed it,” said SCCS head coach Mark Bates. “I think this is the healthiest we have been since before the first scrimmage. We are the closest we have been to having our offensive and defensive lines healthy. This game should be a good challenge.”

For the most part both teams are evenly matched on the ground as the Cardinals running game is averaging 107 yards per game compared to 115 for the Eagles.

Lucas Pettee leads the way for SCCS with 566 yards and five touchdowns on 92 carries this season.

Rancho Christian (1-4) comes into the game coming off a 63-14 loss to St. Bonaventure at home. In the four losses this season the Eagles have allowed 202 points compared to 88 points for the Cardinals.

Their record and stats might tell a different story, but Bates isn’t buying it.

“Don’t let their record fool you,” Bates said. “They played St. Bonaventure and Corona, who are both really tough teams. They are a young program and have a lot to gain so it should be fun.”

Running an option offense, the Eagles might catch some teams off guard as their quarterback, Kyle Keleher, has amassed 1125 yards and eight touchdowns through the air while leading the team in carries (25) and adding three touchdowns on the ground.

Evan Matlock, Jake Keleher and Malosi Napoleon are the next three leading rushers for the Eagles combining for eight touchdowns and 568 yards rushing.

“It’s about playing assignment football and being able to tackle well in space,” Bates said. “They will try to create one-on-one matchups, but we have to stop the run first and then the passing game.”

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Rancho Christian High School.

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