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Seeking to exercise the playoff demons that befell Capistrano Valley Christian last season, the Eagles couldn’t break through and fell, 14-9, to Beckman on Friday, Nov. 3, to end its 2023 campaign.
CVCS (8-2) entered the contest with essentially the same optics as in 2022–an 8-1 team that had the pleasure of hosting a larger public school as its first-round opponent. Both results turned out to be the same, forcing the Eagles to bow out of the CIF Southern Section Division 10 playoffs in the first round after capturing another Mesquite League title.
The Eagles pushed inside the Beckman 20-yard line twice in the second half, down by the same five points as the final score, 14-9, each time. CVCS opted to attempt a fourth-down conversion on both occasions, with quarterback Nate Richie throwing an interception the first time and a pass that was completed short of the sticks the second.
Head coach Eric Preszler credited the Beckman defense, saying his team needed to take their chances when available.
“When you get a chance to get down there versus these guys, you’ve got to capitalize,” Preszler said. “We just had a couple of miscues in key moments down there that made it so we couldn’t do that.”
Richie operated the offense well on the whole, going 18-28 passing for 176 yards, but streaks of incompletions—of which a few could be attributed to drops—proved costly.
Junior receivers Max Krosky and Heath Carlson helped move the ball forward. Krosky caught six passes for 63 yards, and Carlson notched 49 yards on five catches.
The Eagles’ only touchdown came midway through the second quarter. Down 7-3, after an offensive holding penalty had appeared to stall the drive, CVCS converted a fourth-and-six for a fake-punt score. The long snapper got the ball to running back JP Synnott, who caught the Patriots by surprise and escaped a couple of tackle attempts for a 52-yard touchdown.
Preszler said Beckman gave them the look they wanted to run the play.
“Field position-wise, it was a good spot to do it,” he said. “It was still long enough of a fourth down that they had to think it’s not really a good time to fake it based on the distance, but the position was good.”
Beckman (9-2) went three-and-out twice in the first quarter but found a groove in the second. Makhi Czaykowski broke a 20-yard run to start the frame, setting up the Patriots for a methodical drive that ended with a six-yard touchdown run from quarterback Austin Shepard.
After the fake punt put CVCS back in the lead, 9-7, it was time for Shepard to flex his passing capabilities. Shepard led a 68-yard drive in which he accounted for all but four yards, finding Dominic Thompson in between two defenders for a 12-yard score seconds before the half ended.
Czaykowski finished with 76 yards on 18 carries.
Preszler spoke of the program’s journey after the pandemic and the work it took to vault CVCS to Division 10. He added that his team came to play Friday and played a “physical brand of football” that gave them a chance to win.
“I’m proud of the growth that we made,” said Preszler. “We’re not going backwards, we’re going forward, (and we’re going to keep) climbing the ladder. I think we’ve proven that we belong in Orange County football.”