It’s when a team is at its lowest point that they have their greatest opportunity.
That has been the story of the 2018 Santa Fe Christian Eagles.
Losing the 2017 Divison III CIF Championship by a touchdown proved to create an arduous offseason.
“It was probably one of the most brutal times of our lives,” now senior quarterback Michael Linguadoca said.
To dig a deeper hole, the Eagles lost 46-0 to St. Augustine in week two of their 2018 campaign. It was a nightmare situation, and many teams would easily and understandably fold at that moment.
The story, of course does not end anywhere near there.
Since then, SFC has won seven of their last nine games and are one game away from a return to the CIF Championship game, to close things out the right way.
“It would mean everything to have that opportunity again, especially as a six seed.” Linguadoca said.
Santa Fe’s playoff run so far has been something off a movie script.
Their offense surged with 28 second quarter points as they took down Rancho Buena Vista 49-27. Then they acted as spoiler in perhaps the greatest upset in San Diego County, slashing Jahmon McClendon and the Monte Vista Monarchs 27-17.
“It was an unbelievable time,” he said, “I mean our 5’6 165 pound middle linebacker was tackling a UCLA commit out there.”
Even with their recent hot streak, Linguadoca doesn’t think anybody is picking them for their semifinal match-up in El Cajon against the 2 seed undefeated Central Spartans.
And that’s just the way he likes it.
“We weren’t picked last week, we won’t be picked this week and if we win we won’t be picked next week to win either. That’s okay though, we love proving people wrong and that’s what we’re out here to do.”
Culture isn’t created overnight.
It takes days, weeks, months and years to truly attain it.
“There’s a few of us who have been playing together since the 6th or 7th grade,” senior RB/LB Chase Baptista said, “We’ve worked so hard throughout the summer and in the last four years, we’ve always had something special.”
It’s a team that has earned every bit of success they have enjoyed this season, but will face their toughest test yet.
They would be lucky to bus there in under two and a half hours (128 miles away), and in Central’s six home games this season they have beaten their opponents by an average of 34 points (266-60).
But this is a Santa Fe team that has shoved every piece of negativity and adversity away. Stomping on the naysayers and powering through opponents.
And sometimes at the end of the day, it just comes down to who wants it more.
“When it comes to game time we’re going to give it all we got,” senior punter/kicker Jack Bosman said, “That’s what really separates us—our passion and work ethic.”
There’s no denying this team hasn’t been battle tested, and maybe it’s all for the best.
Yes, they have another mighty squad to slay tonight , but at this point it’s anybody’s ballgame.
Don’t count out the Eagles.