Note: This is a re-post from the Santamonicapatch.com
Shouldn’t they have a “Heaven” of a season? But that’s how coach described Lighthouse Christian Academy‘s remarkable winning streak that overstretched itself into a quarterfinal playoffs loss Friday against Cuyama Valley High School.
“We had a hell of a season,” beamed Coach Zach Scribner.
Even the lopsided score, 58-28, couldn’t take the taste of Heaven out of his mouth.
And why should it? After all, Lighthouse quilted together a patchwork team and wasn’t expecting much this season. Its six seniors had talent, but coaches had to beg and plead for non-football players to complete the cast. With only nine team members playing 8-man football, our guys constantly had to play against fresh legs.
To defy the odds against, Lighthouse dug deep to finish 7-1.
Moreover, LCA’s loss Nov. 15 had moments of elation. The Saints opened scoring in the first quarter with a pass to the hands of courageous senior Ricky Rand, who played all season inspite of a shoulder dislocation injury that was constantly re-aggravated.
In the second half, when Lighthouse needed a telescope to see their opponents’ score (LCA was down 36-6), these Santa Monica high school football players mounted baffling drives to back-to-back touchdowns that stirred the embers of belief and hope as they had done so many times this season.
Senior Nate Peterson – a small guy who confounds opponents with his unthinkable speed and maddening cuts – ran the ball up for senior quarterback Joel Lahood to make a touchdown in the third quarter.
They followed up this masterclass of hardball determination with a fumble recovery that led to another touchdown. Out of a jumble of players in a dogpile, Lahood stretched out his hand to set the pigskin down in the end zone.
With a conversion, the score became 42-22, and Lighthouse fans, who had driven three hours up from Los Angeles, dared to believe again that they just might steal the game.
But the farmer boys showed that heaving bales of hay all summer overpowers the greats of Grand Theft Auto from the city. The Cuyama Bears made two more touchdowns.
A spectacular interception by Lighthouse sophomore Tex Hagoski that he rushed 60 yards for a touchdown, was ruled back by an illegal block. The game was over.
If the Saints gobbled up more than their fair share of the 2013 football pie, they also learned along the way the value of doing something for the good of the team, not just the individual.
With inexperienced players, the Saints had made quarterfinals and etched their names into the ledger of fame at the Lighthouse, which twice before were finalists in CIF Southern Section.