PREP FOOTBALL: Colfax Falcons set to face San Diego Cavers in CIF 5-A State Championship
KNOW & GO
What: CIF 5-A State Championship Game
Who: Colfax (13-0) vs. San Diego (11-2)
When: 6 p.m. Saturday
Where: Robert O. Marson Stadium, Colfax High School
Cost: $12 for adults, $8 for students and seniors
The Colfax Falcons are in rarefied air.
The hard-working and skilled group of gridders are among the few high school football teams still standing and still in the fight for a state championship.
“There’s a lot of excitement that surrounds the team, community and school,” said Colfax head coach Tony Martello, whose team has had two weeks to prepare for their CIF 5-A State Championship Game opponent San Diego High School. “At this point it’s kind of an anomaly for us. We’ve never experienced this before, so we’re just trying to cherish every moment and enjoy the experience.”
This is Colfax’s first foray into a CIF State Championship Game. They earned their spot with a thrilling, 31-28, double overtime win over rival Bear River in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V title game Nov. 30.
Support Local Journalism
Adding to the excitement surrounding the game is it will be played at Colfax’s Robert O. Marson Stadium.
“It’s unique in that the state has allowed an actual state (championship) game to be played at a home site, and a home site like Colfax that is so unique in that it’s a small one-horse town. It’s going to be a unique experience for us and a unique experience for the team from San Diego being able to travel up here and see something a little different than they’re used to,” said Martello.
While the Falcons will have the home-field advantage when the State Championship Game kicks off Saturday, Martello also knows his team will have a tough task against a powerful San Diego Cavers team.
“We got paired with an exceptionally talented football team,” said Martello. “They’re fast and they’re explosive. There are no chinks in their armor.”
The Cavers (11-2) head to Colfax for the 5-A title game after beating Kearny, 42-14, in the San Diego Section D-IV Championship, and knocking off Linfield Christian, 42-31, in the CIF 5-A SoCal Regional Bowl Game.
The Cavers boast a pair of 1,000-plus yard rushers in senior Raiden Hunter (1,089 yards, 18 rush TDs), and Mo Jackson (1,099 yards, 21 total TDs).
Through the air, the Cavers lean on 6-3 senior quarterback Quinn O’Conner, who has 1,161 yards passing, 18 touchdowns and just three interceptions.
For the season, San Diego is averaging 41.8 points per game while allowing just 12.1 points per game.
“They’re a very athletic, well-coached football team with not a lot of weaknesses,” Martello said. “We’re going to have to play exceptionally well to be able to play with them.”
Martello and the undefeated Falcons (13-0) have their fair share of talented players as well. Led by senior quarterback Alex Weir, receivers Jake Green and Colton Reeves, and a trio of running backs, the Falcons are averaging 41.3 points per game.
Weir has been exceptional this season, completing 64.5 percent of his passes for 2,562 yards, 38 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
“Alex has played extremely well this year,” Martello said. “He’s played with a lot of poise, he’s prepared hard, he’s got a strong arm, he moves well and he’s got all the intangibles that allows him to perform well. The coolest thing is during the game, he doesn’t panic, he doesn’t lose his composure. He approaches every play the same.”
Weir’s top targets are sure-handed and athletic. Reeves has hauled in 12 touchdown catches this season and leads the team in receptions (48) and yards (1,035). Green, who was named the Pioneer Valley League MVP, leads the team in touchdowns (14) and second in catches (39) and yards (929). Green is also talent on the defensive side of the ball, nabbing three interceptions in the Falcons’ Section title game win.
The Falcons also boast a strong ground attack which averages 186 yards per game. Troy Little, Daniel Bliss and Jack Watts are all skilled runners with the ball in their hands.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Falcons have pitched four shutouts this season and allowed just 11.7 points per game on average.
“Our kids play the scheme really well,” Martello said. “They play fast at the point of attack and they play hard. They don’t let up. We’ve played pretty good up front and our secondary has come a long way and I think our linebacker play has been exceptional as well. You put those elements together and you’re going to have a decent defense.”
The Colfax defense has impact players in senior linebacker Tucker Klopotek, senior defensive lineman Parker Sullivan, senior linebacker John McCann, senior defensive back Dylan Owens and junior defensive back John Beckman.
As for what has been the key to Colfax’s success this season: “We got a great group of kids,” said Martello. “They love playing football and playing with each other. Our coaches have worked hard and put together good game plans, and the kids have been able to execute them … There’s no magic formula, there’s no magic in what has happened, just a lot of hard work and a lot of dedication, and we ended up pulling off 13-0.”
Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Robert O. Marson Stadium, with tickets priced at $12 for adults and $8 for students and seniors.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email email@example.com.
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Connect with needs and opportunities from
Get immediate access to organizations and people in our area that need your help or can provide help during the Coronavirus crisis.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.