HS Football: Linfield Christian Heads to the CIF Southern California State Football Bowl Game in San Diego Saturday

The Lions will face 10-2 San Diego who Won the 2018 CIF San Diego Section Division IV Championship

Linfield Christian won the CIF Southern Section Division 12 Championship by crushing Artesia 70-32 last Saturday. This week, the Lions travel to San Diego to play the 10-2 Cavers. They won the City League Championship earlier in the year and were crowned the 2018 CIF San Diego Section Division IV Champions last week.

The Pride of Temecula is one game away from the State Championship game. The Lions shut out Mary Star of the Sea 40-0 in the opening round of the CIF Southern Section Playoffs. Linfield then rolled over Bell Gardens in the second round, beating the Lancers 69 – 33. Next, Linfield defeated Xavier Prep 57-13 and dominated Artesia in the Championship game. They are taking this Championship season one game at a time.

“It is truly a blessing to be in this position. Our Team has worked really hard and the Coaches and Support Staff have put in countless hours to put us in position to be able to play another week” said Linfield Lions Head Coach DeChon Burns. “The Feeling is amazing. So many schools start out with the hopes of being able to play in the postseason”.

The Linfield Christian defense has shined all season long, and shut down Artesia in the second half of last Saturday nights game. The Lions have recorded 8 shutouts and have given up just 116 points this season.

The defense is anchored by a corps of senior linebackers led by Travion Brown, Cooper Whitworth, Jake Martinez and Ryan “Rhino” Manqueros. Junior Marshall Wiese leads the team with 14 sacks. Juniors Micah Knipps, Christian Vines, and Khalil Nance patrol the Lions secondary and are hard to pass against.

The defensive line is one of the best to play for the Lions, with Wiese, sophomore Terrance Caldwell, Juniors Coby Nile, Jason Locke and senior Eagle tackle Mikheal Yazbek.

“This Team is special because they truly care about each other and play like brothers and a family. They will go the extra mile for the guy next to them without blinking” said Coach Burns, who has coached football at the highest levels, including USC, Florida and in the NFL with the Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers.

“That is hard to find and not measured on the field but has all to do with what happens on the field. The team has come together for one cause..to play for each other. God is so very present in this ride. Its an honor to watch them grow. I believe we are still getting better.

The O Line is what drives Linfied Christian’s prolific offense. It is powered by seniors Bradley Whitworth and Ryan Manqueros. Junior Jason Locke is at center, junior Coby Nile is the right tackle and sophomores Terrance Caldwell and Brye Lighon make up the rest of the line.

Quarterback Kaleb Maresh is the spark that ignites the Lions. The senior has thrown for 2151 yards and 32 touchdowns. Maresh also has 764 yards on 87 carries and has run for 13 scores. His favorite receivers are Travion Brown, Brye Lighon and junior Christian Vines.

Running back Kenric Jameison leads Linfield Christian in rushing. The senior has touched the ball 164 times and has amassed 2,011 yards. He also leads the team with 28 touchdowns. Junior Justin Manqueros (401 yards) and sophomore Crispen Wong (487 yards) help move the ball on the ground for the Lions. Wong scored 4 TDs in last Saturday’s Championship game.

“Words cannot express how I feel about this group of young men,” said Coach Burns. “They have seen the dedication that it takes to be driven for a cause; teamwork to accomplish that task; players that set a standard of excellence that has people talking about what it means to be a Lion years after they are gone. The intestinal fortitude to push on when some of their classmates made different plans; to be a unit that was willing to hurt together, work together and work for God.”

“My Coaches have been greatly instrumental in our arrival to the Championship this season” said Coach Burns. “Our Trainer and her crew have done a great job of keeping us healthy. Its been a real group effort to get to this far”.

Photos by Rob Davis & Charles McKee