Prep Impressions: Week 12

Serrano's Sultaan Sullivan (left) dives to the pylon ahead of Rubidoux's Robert Taylor in Week 12. / Photo for Victorville Daily Press

Serrano’s Sultaan Sullivan (left) dives to the pylon ahead of Rubidoux’s Robert Taylor in Week 12. / Photo for Victorville Daily Press

I covered the Phelan Serrano-Rubidoux CIF-Southern Section Eastern Division semifinal football game on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, for The Press-Enterprise, & @PEcom_sports, and came away thinking the Falcons just weren’t ready for that level of intensity.

Rubidoux (9-3) looked good on its opening drive, reeling off 81 yards on 13 plays over 7 minutes, 18 seconds, but when they couldn’t finish it off from inside Serrano’s 10 you knew that the Falcons were going to be in trouble.

Sure, Jonathan Garibay kicked the chip-shot field goal for the game’s first points, and I knew it would be a short night if Rubidoux couldn’t match Serrano (10-2) in the trenches, execute plays and finish off drives.

Then the Diamondbacks’ Tanner Cornell ripped a 78-yard kickoff return on the game’s next play and their defense held Rudidoux’s offense to nothin’ on its next turn.

So what happens next? Serrano senior Sultaan Sullivan tears through the heart of Rubidoux’s defense on first down for a 49-yard touchdown and a 14-3 lead.

And if you weren’t there for the first 10 minutes, you’d already missed the whole game.

Phelan Serrano head coach Ray Maholchic:

“Sometimes it’s better, I don’t know if it’s luck or clean livin’ but Tanner (Cornell), he’s done that before and he really gave us a shot in the arm. I was proud of the defense holding them to only three (points) and then lightning struck and we took over from there. Sultaan had another great game and the offensive line did a great job. It was a good team effort. (Rubidoux’s power-toss offense) isn’t something we haven’t seen before. We played Norte Vista last year in the playoffs, which was double-wing team. We went back and looked at those films and put together to plays that we had some success, and the kids did a great job. Our front four on defense, I think, did a great job as far as taking away the trap and not getting moved. We were bashing each other all week in practice, and my hat goes off to our JV offense because that’s all they did. They took over and they ran it real well and got us ready for it. So it was a total team effort. It’s just one week at a time now, trying to stay alive for these seniors, and it’d be nice to get back. It’s always nice to be in the semis, but anytime anywhere these teams can beat you so you have to come out and play your ‘A’ game. Tonight I thought we did.”

Rubidoux head coach Patrick Thompson:
“We knew coming into it that Serrano was absolutely lights-out. We knew that every point was going to be absolutely critical. We moved into field goal territory and kicked the field goal. Hey, it’s the playoffs, man. When points are on the table you got to take them. If it’s three or six or seven. That kid (Sultaan Sullivan) is so good, so good. The whole team, the whole program from the top to the bottom, left to the right is really solid. Our game plan was literally to get 3.5 yards every down. That was our game plan. A first down to us was 3.5 yards, ’cause we knew their defense was going to be lights-out. We literally played ‘Cover 0’ with everyone at the line of scrimmage trying to stop that kid, and he’s really good. There’s only so much you can do. We fought, we tried as best as we possibly could. (Ray Maholchic) is a very, very seasoned coach and coaching staff and a really, really solid program. For us to even be in the second round against these guys I think was a big step for us. Rubidoux has a very rich legacy, a very rich tradition of excellent football and I think this first season for me really proved that. We’re going to continue to hammer forward. We’re going to build on it, and I told the boys right now that they want the taste of being on top. It was good to play those guys because they’re where we want to be and every year we’re going to chip away, chip away, chip away until we’re going to beat those guys. That’s the ultimate goal.”

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