HS Football: Linfield Christian Falls to San Diego in the CIF Southern California Division 5-A Regional Championship Game

The Lions Led 24-7 at the Half but could not Stop the Carvers Second Half Resurgence

Linfield Christian fell to San Diego in the CIF Southern California Division 5-A Regional Championship 42-31 Saturday as the Lions’ incredible season came to an end. Linfield took a 24-7 lead in the first half but the offense stalled and the Carvers exploded for 35 points in the second half to win the game.

Lions jumped out to a 14-0 lead when quarterback Kaleb Maresh connected with his favorite receiver Travion Brown for two touchdowns in the first quarter. The first was a 78 yard strike followed by a 28 yard pass to put the Lions in front.

Maresh would score on a two yard quarterback keeper in the second quarter to put Linfield Christian up by 21 before San Diego scored on Quinn O’connor’s 10 yard touchdown pass to Mo Jackson. Anthony Santoro nailed a 11 yard field goal for the Lions and Linfield tool a 24-7 lead into the locker room at the half.

It was a different game in the second half. The Carvers ran off 21 straight points in the beginning of the second half to make it a 24-21 game. Lion sophomore Crispin Wong would give Linfield a 30-21 lead on a 20 yard run with 8 minutes left in the final quarter.

San Diego roared back with four unanswered touchdowns. On the ensuing kickoff, San Diego’s Jayden Wickware took the kick 94 yards for a touchdown.The Carvers then forced a three-and-out and and the Lions punted. Mo Jackson found a seam and ran 57 yards for a touchdown to give San Diego its first lead at 35-31.

On the next Lions possession, Jackson recovered a Linfield fumble The Cavers would drive 61 yards ending with Wickware’s one yard dive to make it 42-31.

Maresh finished the game going 14 of 22 passes for 57 yards and 2 touchdowns. The senior also rushed for 50 yards and a score. Wong led the Lions on the ground with 103 yards on 18 carries. Brown caught 7 passes for 200 yards.

Cavers quarterback Quinn O’Connor was 9-of-17 passing for 179 yards. Daniel Thomas caught three passes for 56 yards. Jackson had 10 carries for 123 yards and two touchdowns. The sophomore also caught five passes for 89 yards and two more scores. Raiden Hunter ran for 60 yards on 10 carries.

The Magical Season for Linfield Christian has come to an end. The Lions were 5-5 last year and outscored, 241-253. This year, Linfield would score 820 points and the Lions defense played tough all season. They ended with a record of 13-2.

Even more amazing, the Lions had 15 seniors on the team. Eleven of them have college scholarship offers.

“I am so proud of how they’ve grown,” “I’m so proud of where they’ve amassed to” said Linfield Christian head coach DeChon Burns. “They became men, and they did some monumental things.”

“You don’t necessarily like to be on the losing end, but it says more about you when you take a loss and what your character’s like than when you win,” Coach Burns said.

“I’m proud of the resiliency of our young men and how even in the midst of losing they kept fighting. We held our heads up high.”

Linfield Christian   14  10   0    7      31

San Diego                   0    7   14   21    42

Photos by Rob Davis