They have gone the entire year without once tasting defeat, and the Sequoia High School football team wants to extend that streak just one more week. If Sacred Heart succeeds, it will capture the Central Coast Section
Division II championship.
But standing between the No. 2 Cherokees (11-0-1) and a perfect ending to a near-perfect season is
No. 5 Willow Glen (10-2), and the Rams have made upset their middle name so far this postseason, knocking off No. 4 Los Gatos 13-12 before stunning No. 1 Wilcox 49-34 last week.
“They are an offensive juggernaut,” Sequoia coach Rob Poulos said. “It is too late for us to change a lot of what we do [on defense], so we’ll just try to match up with their passing game.”
Sequoia was able to contain Leland in last week’s semifinal game, a 27-14 win, that propelled the Cherokees into Saturday’s championship game at San Jose City College at 3 p.m. They will need to bring the same effort against the Rams, who are led by junior quarterback Mitchell Ravizza.
Ravizza powers the Rams’ attack by averaging nearly 270 passing yards per game.
Willow Glen is also very creative when it comes to gaining extra offensive possessions in a game.
“They are really good at stealing possessions with onside kicks and extending drives by going for it on fourth down,” Poulos said.
So when Sequoia does have the ball, it will need to be productive and do what it can to keep the Rams’ offense on the sideline. Which means quarterback James Beekley and running back Josh Lauese will need to move the ball downfield and avoid a costly turnover that could determine the outcome of Saturday’s game.
Poulos feels that his team is well-prepared for the title bout as the Cherokees have literally been in playoff mode for the past four weeks. Sequoia had to win its last two regular-season games to not only ensure an unbeaten season — its only blemish is a 28-28 tie against Pinole Valley earlier this year — but to earn a playoff berth and high seeding.
“Being in a title game is new ground for the kids, but they are excited to be here,” Poulos said of his team. “They’ve done a good job not getting caught up in the excitement and staying in the moment and in the game at hand.”
With just one last game left in the 2010 season, the Cherokees are on the brink of claiming the school’s first CCS section championship in football in only its second appearance in a CCS section title game.
The only other title game appearance for the Cherokees was a 9-7 loss in 1986 to an unbeaten San Mateo team.
CCS Division II Championship
WHO: No. 2 Sequoia (11-0-1) vs. No. 5 Willow Glen (10-2)
WHEN: Saturday, 3 p.m.
WHERE: San Jose City College
LAST WEEK: No. 2 Sequoia defeated No. 3 Leland 27-14; No. 5 Willow Glen stunned top-ranked Wilcox 49-34