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La Jolla gets tough with Madison


November 26, 2005

Robert Sagerian took the snap and took a knee. As the clock ran out, the La Jolla quarterback then jumped into the air and pumped his fist. The celebration began. The Vikings had pulled off an the upset.

Sagerian connected with receiver Chris Jones for a 27-yard touchdown strike in the third quarter for what proved to be the winning score. The play helped La Jolla shock the No. 2-seeded Madison Warhawks 21-14 last night in the Division IV football quarterfinals at Madison High.

The Vikings (6-5) move on to face Valley Center, a 55-6 winner over Coronado, next week in the semifinals. Central League champion Madison finished 9-2.

"We came off a tough loss against Point Loma, and we thought we were better than the 5-5 record that we had," said Sagerian, whose team tied for second in the Western League after losing 26-6 to champion Point Loma on Nov. 10. "Our defense kept us in it all night, and the offense made plays when they needed to."

After a 14-14 tie at the half, the stingy La Jolla defense took over. The Vikings shut down the high-powered Madison offense over the final 24 minutes, holding the Warhawks to 39 yards 24 rushing and 209 yards total for the game.

Brandon Grimsley, the section's third-leading rusher during the regular season, ran 20 times for 135 yards. The senior for both of Madison's touchdowns, including a 95-yarder and a 1-yarder, both in the second quarter.

The Vikings also found the end zone twice in the opening half, once on their first drive and the other as time expired when Sagerian sneaked in from a yard out.

"We knew they were going to be real physical, and they were," Madison head coach Rick Jackson said. "We thought we moved the ball OK, but we had a lot of mental breakdowns. Credit to them because they're a good football team."

La Jolla played without starting running back Ben Chu, who had a cyst removed from his jaw on Tuesday. But the Vikings filled the gap with a committee of runners, led by Philip Stewart's 74 yards, to finish with 154 yards on the ground.

"We had little things that we had to overcome this week," La Jolla head coach Dave Ponsford said. "We had to kind of move some guys from receiver in (to running back). I'm proud of the kids they responded well."

Madison lost starting QB Daniel Moreno midway through the third because of a sprained shoulder.