Modesto Chris­tian top­ples Arg­onaut to ad­vance

The Modesto Bee (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY JIM SILVA jsilva@mod­bee.com

The Modesto Chris­tian High foot­ball team had two weeks to stew over its only loss of the 2018 sea­son, a last-sec­ond de­feat to Ripon that forced the Cru­saders to share the Trans-Val­ley League ti­tle.

Modesto Chris­tian took its two weeks of frus­tra­tion out on Arg­onaut on Fri­day night.

The top-seeded Cru­saders, who drew a bye in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Divi­sion VI play­offs, played a near flaw­less first half and coasted in the sec­ond to open their post­sea­son with a 28-7 win over the eighth-seeded Mus­tangs.

“We were re­ally mo­ti­vated com­ing in,” Modesto Chris­tian quar­ter­back Hayden Sauser said. “The way that (Ripon) game ended, we were re­ally up­set. But we re­ally gath- ered to­gether as a team and were mo­ti­vated, came out here and made sure we did our job.”

Cru­saders coach Mike Par­sons said his play­ers were able to bury the mem­ory of that heart­break­ing Ripon de­feat — lit­er­ally.

“Re­ally a bad taste in your mouth ev­ery day,” Par­sons said. “We ac­tu­ally took a game ball and buried it, lit­er­ally, and just had to move on and not talk about that game and fo­cus on Arg­onaut.”

Modesto Chris­tian (10-1) ap­peared ra­zor sharp in the first half, get­ting two touch­down runs from run­ning back Jose Her­nan­dez in the first quar­ter and two Sauser TD passes in the sec­ond to take a 28-0 half­time lead.

“First half we were lights out,” said Sauser, the Cru­saders’ se­nior sig­nal-caller.

Sauser com­pleted 8 of 10 passes in the first half for 249 yards and two TDs, in­clud­ing a 29yarder to tight end Xavier Carl­ton and a 92-yarder to Johnny Wil­liams.

The only bad thing to

hap­pen to Modesto Chris­tian in the first half was a knee in­jury to Her­nan­dez. He was walk­ing af­ter the game but will be a ques­tion mark to play against fourth-seeded Ripon Chris­tian (11-0) in a D-VI semi­fi­nal next Fri­day night.

Things got sloppy, and chippy, in the sec­ond half, and the only real ques­tion was whether Arg­onaut (8-4) could avoid the shutout.

The Modesto Chris­tian de­fense was dom­i­nant, but sur­ren­dered a 1-yard TD run, by Arg­onaut’s Ja­cob Green, with 1:34 left in the game.

“They put up 58 points last week (against Brad­shaw Chris­tian) and we knew we could have our hands full,” Par­sons said. “I’m re­ally proud of the de­fense hold­ing those guys.

“It was real sloppy at the end, but in the end we got the vic­tory, and we’ve got to move on to RC and get ready to go.”

Ripon Chris­tian is go­ing to have a chal­lenge to score against a Modesto Chris­tian de­fense that has al­lowed only 10 points twice this sea­son.

Par­sons said the strength of the de­fense is up the mid­dle.

“It’s like base­ball, if you’re strong up the mid­dle you’re go­ing to be pretty good,” Par­sons said. “And we’re re­ally strong up the mid­dle.

“And it’s just the kids. If you’ve got the play­ers you can run the schemes.”

It also doesn’t hurt that the Cru­saders have fourstar col­lege re­cruit Xavier Carl­ton, who as a 6-foot-7, 245-pound ju­nior is a dom­i­nant force on de­fense from his end po­si­tion. He had two sacks of Arg­onaut quar­ter­back Wy­att El­more on Fri­day.

Carl­ton has proven to be just as good on of­fense as a tight end. He’ll be a tough matchup for any­body he faces the rest of the post­sea­son.

“His abil­ity to go up there and get the ball ... it’s pretty fun to throw to,” Sauser said.

ANDY AL­FARO aal­faro@mod­bee.com

Modesto Chris­tian’s Xavier Carl­ton (44) rushes Arg­onaut quar­ter­back Wy­att El­more dur­ing the Sac-Joaquin Sec­tion Divi­sion VI play­off game in Modesto on Fri­day. Modesto Chris­tian won 28-7.

ANDY AL­FARO aal­faro@mod­bee.com

Modesto Chris­tian’s Eli­iah Wash­ing­ton is pur­sued by Arg­onaut’s Carter Swingle dur­ing the Sac-Joaquin Sec­tion Divi­sion VI play­off game in Modesto.

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