High School Sports

No. 17 Vista del Lago beats No. 16 Christian Brothers for CAL title

Vista del Lago Eagles' Landon Mitchell (11) intercepts a pass intended for Christian Brothers Falcons' Jamarri Jackson (21) near the Christian Brothers' end zone in the fourth quarter, as the Eagles host the Falcons at Folsom High School on Friday, November 6, 2015.
Vista del Lago Eagles' Landon Mitchell (11) intercepts a pass intended for Christian Brothers Falcons' Jamarri Jackson (21) near the Christian Brothers' end zone in the fourth quarter, as the Eagles host the Falcons at Folsom High School on Friday, November 6, 2015. Special to the Bee

There were no late-game heroics Friday night between No. 17 Vista del Lago and No. 16 Christian Brothers. In 2014, a touchdown heave by Matt Jimison with no time remaining gave the Eagles the win and the Capital Athletic League title at Hughes Stadium.

Friday night at Folsom High’s Prairie City Stadium, the Eagles claimed the CAL title again, this time with a 38-28 victory over the Falcons behind running back Colby Carrera, who had a season-high 35 carries for 256 yards and three touchdowns.

The Eagles moved to 8-2 overall and finished league play at 5-0. The Falcons dropped to 8-2 and 4-1. Both teams already had secured Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berths, but a league title certainly provides a boost. Section playoff pairings will be released on Saturday.

It’s Vista’s fifth league title since 2010.

‘Proud of our guys’

“I think once we settled in we were fine,” Vista coach Mike Struebing said. “We missed three deep balls in the first half that were big opportunities that may have sent us on our way. But I couldn’t be more proud of our guys.”

Struebing looked over his shoulder and nodded toward Carrera. He is the workhorse of the Eagles’ offense who has bounced back from issues on and off the field earlier this season to dominate Friday night. Carrera scored on runs of two, two and 32 yards.

I think once we settled in we were fine. We missed three deep balls in the first half that were big opportunities that may have sent us on our way. But I couldn’t be more proud of our guys.

Vista del Lago coach Mike Struebing

“It was a big game and sets us up for what’s to come,” Carrera said. “It was a good comeback for me after getting a late start.”

Neither Carrera nor Struebing revealed what troubles the player encountered earlier in the season. No matter – he and the Eagles seem to be peaking at the right time.

With both teams trading long plays, it appeared the game would be another nail-biter like last season in Sacramento. Four touchdowns went for more than 40 yards. Christian Brothers quarterback Braeden Bourke threw for 452 yards and four touchdowns. Two of those, a 49- and 54-yarder, went to Malcolm Anderson, who finished with 14 catches for 295 yards.

But whenever CBS seemed to get hot, Struebing called Carrera’s number, and the 5-foot-9 mass of muscle moved linemen – both CBS’ and his own – out of the way for big gains.

14, 295 Receptions and yardage by Christian Brothers’ Malcolm Anderson against Vista del Lago

“(Carrera) got his carries tonight,” said Struebing, adding that he didn’t plan to give him so many carries. “Maybe what happened on and off the field was a good thing, because he has fresh legs.”

Vista’s only losses are to Monticello Empire League power Wood of Vacaville 47-22 in the season opener and No. 8 Placer 42-39 on Sept. 25. Wood and Placer are a combined 19-1.

Carrera and Struebing agreed that for Vista to advance far in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, it must avoid slow starts.

“Our team seems to start slow and finish hard,” Carrera said. “We need even more intensity now so we can start hard and finish hard.”

Mark Billingsley is a Carmichael-based freelance writer: editorwriter@att.net or @editorwriter001.

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