Capistrano Valley battles its way past Santiago, advances to Division 3 semifinals

MISSION VIEJO – Capistrano Valley scored 21 consecutive points in the second half Friday en route to a 28-20 win Friday against Santiago of Corona in the Division 3 quarterfinals at Capistrano Valley High.

  • Blake Morgan, left, of Capistrano Valley reaches out to catch a touchdown pass over the defense of Miles Wilson of Santiago in the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 3 football playoffs at Capistrano Valley High in Mission Viejo on Friday, November 9, 2018. Capistrano Valley defeated Santiago 28-20. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Tate Giles of Santiago, center, gets tackled by the defense of Capistrano Valley during a quarterfinals game in the CIF-SS Division 3 football playoffs at Capistrano Valley High in Mission Viejo on Friday, November 9, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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  • Jack Haley, left, of Capistrano Valley attemtps to get past the defense of Santiago during the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 3 football playoffs at Capistrano Valley High in Mission Viejo on Friday, November 9, 2018. Capistrano Valley defeated Santiago 28-20. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • De’Andre LeNard of Capistrano Valley gets upended by the Santiago defense during the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 3 football playoffs at Capistrano Valley High in Mission Viejo on Friday, November 9, 2018. Capistrano Valley defeated Santiago 28-20.(Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Santiago quarterback Nathaniel Castillo, center, attempts to get past the Capistrano Valley defense during the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 3 football playoffs at Capistrano Valley High in Mission Viejo on Friday, November 9, 2018. Capistrano Valley defeated Santiago 28-20. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Even after Jack Haley of Capistrano Valley, right, catches a pass Marcus Nesby of Santiago still tries to take away the ball during the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 3 football playoffs at Capistrano Valley High in Mission Viejo on Friday, November 9, 2018. Capistrano Valley defeated Santiago 28-20. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • VincentPacleb (1) of Santiago gets past the Capistrano Valley defense for a touchdown during the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 3 football playoffs at Capistrano Valley High in Mission Viejo on Friday, November 9, 2018. Capistrano Valley defeated Santiago 28-20. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Ryan Dorta of Capistrano Valley, left, gets tackled in the backfield by Cody Blokzyl of Santiago during the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 3 football playoffs at Capistrano Valley High in Mission Viejo on Friday, November 9, 2018. Capistrano Valley defeated Santiago 28-20. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Jackson Kurtz of Santiago, right, catches a pass over the defense of Josh Chervenka of Capistrano Valley during the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 3 football playoffs at Capistrano Valley High in Mission Viejo on Friday, November 9, 2018. Capistrano Valley defeated Santiago 28-20.(Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Capistrano Valley students sing “Sweet Caroline” during the game against Santiago of Corona during the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 3 football playoffs at Capistrano Valley High in Mission Viejo on Friday, November 9, 2018. Capistrano Valley defeated Santiago 28-20. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Dylan Flynn left, and Brennan Karsh of Capistrano Valley celebrate their 28-20 victory over Santiago in the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 3 football playoffs at Capistrano Valley High in Mission Viejo on Friday, November 9, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Jake Meyer (6), center, of Capistrano Valley leads the team on to the field prior to the game against Santiago of Corona during the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 3 football playoffs at Capistrano Valley High in Mission Viejo on Friday, November 9, 2018. Capistrano Valley defeated Santiago 28-20. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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The Cougars trailed 17-7 early in the third quarter but figured out a winning formula. The turning point of the game came midway through the third quarter when Cougars defensive end Patrick Griu sacked the Santiago quarterback, forced a fumble and recovered it on the Sharks’ 10-yard line.

Two plays after the turnover, Capo Valley quarterback Nathan Manning ran for a 10-yard touchdown to cut the Santiago lead to three.

“Our defense helps us out every game,” Manning said. “All they do is make plays and we capitalized off of turnovers, which really helped us.”

Capo Valley (9-3) will host top-seeded Cajon of San Bernardino in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 16.

After Manning’s touchdown run, the Capo Valley defense forced four consecutive three-and-outs by the Santiago offense. James Giles had double-digit tackles for the Cougars and defensive lineman Juan Carlos Saldivar had three sacks.

“The defense controlled the line of scrimmage in the second half and was able to stop the run,” Capo Valley coach Ernie Bucher said. “Any time you can create a turnover, that’s big. We turned the ball over to start the half, but we got that back and put some points on the board and kept it rolling. This is a great win.”

Capo Valley took its first lead of the game late in the third quarter. The Cougars brought in multiple big defensive players to set up a full house backfield and running back De’Andre LeNard ran for a touchdown to give the Cougars a 21-17 lead.

Early in the fourth quarter, Capo Valley faced fourth-and-9 from the Santiago 32. Manning scrambled and completed a pass to a diving Tommy Dickman for a 24-yard gain to give the Cougars a first down inside the 10. Dylan Flynn rushed for a 5-yard touchdown to extend the Capo lead to 11.

The Cougars’ offense converted three of four fourth-down attempts which proved to be critical. Manning converted two of those fourth downs by extending plays with his legs and giving his receivers time to get open. Manning completed 23 of 38 passes for 283 yards.

“He took what the defense gave him,” Bucher said of Manning. “He is very cerebral and athletic and was able to move the sticks on third and fourth down and that gave us chances to win.”

Santiago (7-5) moved the ball well on the ground in the first half and made a handful of big plays in the passing game. Receiver Jackson Kurtz caught four passes for 102 yards and a touchdown and running back Vincent Pacleb rushed for 72 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown.

Marcus Nesby had an interception for the Sharks and kicker Kameron Tiedt made two field goals.

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