San Jacinto HS Tigers Advance To The CIF State Championship

Derrick Spearman, Writer

In the CIF Division 3AA Southern California Regional Championship, the 12-2 Tigers of San Jacinto High took on the 11-2 Centurions of University City High. The winner of this matchup advanced to the Division 3AA State Championship. The Tigers and Centurions showed why they both made the Southern California Regional, as this game came down to the wire. 


Photo of the game (Derrick Spearman)

The Tigers had the football to start the game and reached midfield, before being stopped on fourth down allowing the Centurions to take over on downs. The Centurions took advantage of that opportunity and scored a touchdown on their opening drive to take a 7-0 over the Tigers. The Tigers quickly responded with a touchdown on their next drive. Star quarterback Dereun Dortch showcased his athleticism on a 43 yard run for a touchdown to tie the game at 7 a piece. With the football again, the Centurions were stopped this time by the Tigers after a tipped pass that was caught by Christopher Tautolo for an interception, thus giving the ball back to the Tigers. The Tigers moved the ball down the field, thanks to a big reception by star receiver Dillon Gresham. The Tigers finished the drive with another rushing touchdown by Dereun Dortch. This gave the Tigers a 14-7 lead. University City responded with a touchdown of their own to tie the game again at 14 each. The Tigers, looking to retake the lead, were stopped in their efforts after an interception. Following the interception, the Centurions took over in Tiger territory and turned that turnover into a touchdown to retake the lead over the Tigers 21-14. The Tigers ultimately tied up the game again after Vincent Holmes won the fight for the football and took it to the house for a 65 yard touchdown. Just like that, the game was tied again at 21. University City drove down to Tiger territory but were stopped after a fumble that the Tigers recovered. The Tigers turned the fumble recovery into points, thanks to another rushing touchdown by Dereun Dortch for 30 yards. This put the Tigers back on top 28-21. The Centurions who now find themselves behind again surrendered another giveaway, an interception from Daylen Love. The Tigers again took advantage of the turnover with Dortch completing a pass to Dre Taylor for another Tigers touchdown. This expanded the Tigers lead to 35-21. University City, who found themselves in a 14 point deficit, threw another interception caught by Vincent Holmes. In what has been a common theme this game, the Tigers turned that turnover into more points when Dereun Dortch connected with Dillon Gresham for another Tigers touchdown, giving the Tigers 42-21 lead. In desperate need of a touchdown, the Centurions finally broke through and scored a touchdown to shrink the Tigers lead 42-28. The Tigers went into halftime with a 42-28 lead over the Centurions. 


Photo of the team (Derrick Spearman)

The Centurions started off the 2nd half with the football, dealing with a 14 point deficit against the Tigers. The Centurions moved the ball down the field and capped it off with a touchdown, shrinking the Tigers lead 42-35. The Centurions were catching up to the Tigers who had a 42-21 advantage at one point. The Tigers, now only up by one possession, needed points on this drive to make it a two possession game again. Unfortunately for the Tigers, ball security was an issue again on this drive, as the Tigers fumbled giving the ball back to the Centurions. The Tigers’ defense did not break and held the Centurions to a field goal attempt to keep the Tigers ahead. Tigers lead 42-38. The Tigers, hanging onto a 4 point lead, fumbled again, giving the ball back to the Centurions. The Tigers’ defense stopped the Centurions from adding any further damage keeping the score the same. The Tigers were stopped on 4th down on their next. The Centurions finally broke through for a touchdown. The Centurions had a 45-42 lead over the Tigers. After being down 42-21, the Centurions scored 24 unanswered points to retake the lead for the first time since their 21-14 lead in the 2nd quarter. The Tigers found themselves behind with 2 minutes left and needed to score. On third and long, back against the wall, Dereun Dortch connected with Dillon Gresham on a 46 yard touchdown pass. This gave the Tigers a 49-45 lead over the Centurions with one minute left in the game. With a minute left in the game, The Centurions were in need of a go ahead touchdown and were stopped by a Dillon Gresham interception to end the game for the Tigers. Dillon Gresham caught the go ahead touchdown and the game-clinching interception. Quarterback Dereun Dortch finished the game, completing 11 of his 20 passes for 258 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Dortch also had 100 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns on 12 carries, scoring seven total touchdowns for the Tigers. Dillon Gresham finished with 6 receptions, 158 yards, and 2 touchdowns.    

Photo of the game (Derrick Spearman)

With the win, the Tigers will take on the Pacers of Grant High in Sacramento. Best of luck to Coach Galliano and this impressive Tigers team. #FearThePaw.