In the last preleague game before its Prep League opener, Santa Clarita Christian School football wanted to both make an impression and fix a few loose ends on Saturday night.
With a 35-19 win over Temple City at Valencia High School, the Cardinals did just that, with quarterback Blake Kirshner and receiver Kade Kalinske paving the way and connecting for two touchdowns.
Lucas Pettee was the first one to score on a 14-yard run with 8:18 left in the first quarter. With a successful PAT from TJ Evans, SCCS (5-2) earned a 7-0 lead, then increased it to 14-0 when Kirshner tossed a 22-yard touchdown pass to Kalinske with 5:16 to go in the frame.
“We’re always throwing passes like in practice and stuff,” Kirshner said. “We just have a really good quarterback/receiver relationship on and off the field … to know that he’s going to be there and making those catches for me is just big.”
The Rams (2-4 overall, 0-1 in Rio Hondo League) rattled off two scores within the last three minutes of the quarter: the first on a 12-yard pass from Alex Vera to Patrick Ekmekjian and the second on a 28-yard pass from Vera to Daniel Centeno.
Midway through the second quarter, Temple City struck again when Samuel Jackimowicz scored on a 2-yard scamper to make it 19-14 in the Rams’ favor.
“I was just trying to tell everyone attitude and effort, that’s all you can control,” Kalinske said. “We’ve got to control what we can control. Leave the rest up to the game and just see how it goes.”
With 4:24 left until halftime, Kirshner and Kalinske teamed up to take the lead back with a 23-yard touchdown pass.
“The trust is amazing between us,” Kirshner said.
Kirshner scored on a 3-yard keeper on the other side of halftime, then the Cardinals’ Ethan Schwesinger recovered a fumble on the second play of Temple City’s ensuing drive. The momentum kept going until the Rams forced SCCS to turn over on downs.
The Rams’ drive was cut short once again when Ethan Frields forced a tackle for a loss, then Schwesinger recovered another fumble on the very next play.
On the resulting possession, Pettee was able to punch it in from one yard out for the final touchdown of the game.
“Defense sets us up for our offense, which is stellar, so we just have to get our offense back on the field and that’s what we tried to do,” Kalinske said. “Guys made plays and it was great.”
SCCS begins Prep League play on Saturday against Polytechnic at College of the Canyons. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.