By Austin Block
Football season came to an end Friday night when theÂ Wolverines lost their second round CIF playoff game against powerhouse Oaks Christian at Ted Slavin Field 45-10.
The Lions took a 31-3 lead into halftime, and the home teamâs lone touchdown didnât come until near the end of the fourth quarter, when quarterback Oliver Lowry â10 found receiver Jackson Liguori â10 in the far right side of the end zone.
Will Oliver â11 made a short field goal in the first half for the Wolverines.
UCLA-committed senior running back Malcolm Jones ran for 141 yards and scored four touchdowns for the Lions, running his total this season (including playoffs) to 39.
The Lions will play Cathedral, who the Wolverines lost to 32-16 this season, in the CIF semifinals.
Oaks Christian came into the game ranked number fourÂ in the country by ESPNâs Fab 50 Rankings. It had compiled an 11-0 record and scored 538 points in those games, giving up only 102 points in the process. It blew out Santa Ynez 70-14 in the first round of CIF playoffsÂ on FridayÂ Nov. 20Â and is now riding a 33 game win streak.
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âItâs Harvard playing Texas,â Wolverine Head Coach Vic Eumont said before the game.
You never know how itâs going to turn out,â he added. âWeâre preparing to win. Weâre not preparing to lose.â
Jones, a prolific running back who also plays linebacker for the team has scored over 100 touchdowns in his high school career, and this year he has scored 39 touchdowns and run for 1987 yards on 177 carries (11.23 yards per carry).
Los Angeles Times sports writer Eric Sondheimer named Jones as a possible Southern California player of the year in a piece about himÂ Nov. 20Â and said that Jones has compiled his impressive resumÃ© playing little more than half the game in many of the teamâs games this season.
The Lions also have sparkling athletic bloodlines, as its starting quarterback is Nick Montana, son of Hall of Fame Quarterback Joe Montana, and its backup quarterback is Trevor Gretzky, son of legendary hockey player Wayne Gretzky.
The WolverinesÂ were coming off a 34-20 comeback win over Compton Centennial last week in Compton.
Starting quarterback Max Heltzer â11 was injured near the beginning of last weekâs game. Linebacker/quarterback LowryÂ played most of last weekâs game in Heltzerâs place and played quarterback again Friday night.
The team did not alter its preparations because of its prestigious opponent.
âWe have to practice for these guys the way we practice for everybody else,â Eumont said. âThereâs nothing else you can do other than pray a lot.â
The team practiced Monday and Tuesday afternoons and Wednesday morning. It had Thanksgiving off and assembled for a pregame meal at 3 p.m. on Friday.
Eumont said the outcome of the game would depend on execution.
âThe only way to beat them is to out-execute and thatâs hard because theyâre a talented team, well coached,â he said.
âYou canât beat them on emotion. You can make all the rah-rah speeches in the world but once you get out on the field and somebody hits you youâre either going to do good, or youâre going to do bad,â he said.
âIf we play hard we can win,â Lowry said before the game. Sure theyâre a great team, one of the best in Cali but they have holes just like anyone else and they might be very athletic but itâs still football and really anyone always has a chance.â
âIt seems like a lot of people are excited. Iâve gotten phone calls and e-mails that weâve never had,â Eumont said. âItâs going to bring the community of Harvard-Westlake together and thatâs always a good thing.â
âWeâre ready for the challenge. Itâs a great challenge. Not a lot of teams get an opportunity to play these guys,â Eumont said.