The Buccaneers wrapped up a perfect 13-0 season with the victory in the championship game.
“This is a real, true blessing,” said Bucs quarterback Dillon Baxter, who finished the game with 26 carries, 384 yards and 7 TDs. “It brings tears to my eyes.”
The USC-bound Baxter brought tears to Valley Center’s eyes when he scored a 6-yard touchdown on the Buccaneers’ opening drive of the game. That got Mission Bay on the scoreboard first and the extra point was good.
After a Jaguar field goal cut the gap to 7-3 at the end of the first period, Baxter went back to work. On Mission Bay’s second possession of the game, Baxter ran one in from 21 yards out to advance the Buccaneer advantage to 14-3 early in the second quarter.
“We’ve been waiting for this moment,” Baxter said after the victory. “We all knew this was a big game.”
Baxter came up big on Mission Bay’s third drive of the game as the senior scored on a 9-yard touchdown run to extend the Buccaneers’ edge to 21-3.
The turning point in the game may have come on Valley Center’s next possession. Trailing 21-3, the Jaguars had matriculated the ball down to the Mission Bay 4-yard line before losing it on a fumble.
The Buccaneers quickly capitalized on the turnover as Baxter took it to the house for a 92-yard touchdown run on the next play. So, instead of trimming the margin to 21-10, Valley Center now found itself down 28-3 heading into the locker room at halftime.
After the intermission, it was more of the same as Baxter ran one in for an 87-yard touchdown just 17 seconds into the second half. That made the score 35-3 in favor of Mission Bay with 11:43 left in the third quarter.
“Ever since August, Coach (Willie) Matson has been telling us how much of a memory this would be,” Baxter said.
Baxter continued to make memories on a 1-yard touchdown run to pad the Buccaneer cushion at 41-3 with 7:55 remaining in the third period.
The Jaguars showed their competitive side as junior wide receiver Travis Bernard (21 yards in the third quarter) and senior tight end Patrick Preston (6 yards in the fourth quarter) reeled in touchdown passes from junior quarterback Beau Reilly.
Unfortunately for Valley Center, that’s as close as they would get as Baxter would add a 46-yard touchdown run with 7:55 remaining in the fourth period to seal the victory for Mission Bay.
“I could care less about all of the individual accolades,” Baxter said. “I’m just glad we got our win.”
“The monkey is off my back,” said a jubilant Matson of his first CIF title in four tries and the first for the Buccaneers since 2001.