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CIF State Playoffs: Bishop Diego’s Defense Will be Challenged by Quartz Hill QB

Bishop Diego’s defense has been solid throughout the postseason. Click to view larger
Bishop Diego’s defense has been solid throughout the postseason. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk file photo)

Bishop Diego will add another page to its historic football season Saturday when it steps on the turf field at Cal Lutheran’s William Rolland Stadium to take on Quartz Hill in the CIF State Division 3AA Regional Bowl Game.

Middle linebacker Ashton Borgeson had had 13 tackles in the CIF-Southern Section Division 6 title game and was named Cal-Hi Sports Defensive Player of the Week in Southern California, Click to view larger
Middle linebacker Ashton Borgeson had had 13 tackles in the CIF-Southern Section Division 6 title game and was named Cal-Hi Sports Defensive Player of the Week in Southern California, (JC Corliss / Noozhawk file photo)

Kickoff is 6 p.m.

The game marks the first time any Santa Barbara County football team has played in the CIF State Playoffs.

Bishop was selected for the state playoffs after winning its first CIF-Southern Section football championship last week, beating Golden Valley, 37-6, for the Division 6 title.

The Cardinals (13-1) will face a Quartz Hill team that beat Dos Pueblos on the last play of the game to win the Division 10 championship in Lancaster. The Rebels (13-1) stopped DP running back Rob Alfaro just inches from the goal line.

Bishop Diego’s defense will have its hands full trying to contain Quartz Hill’s athletic quarterback Matthew Tago. The 6-3, 238-pound senior makes plays with his passing and running. Against DP, he completed 20 of 25 passes for 217 yards and rushed 16 times for 111 yards and three touchdowns. His strength enables him to break tackles and avoid sacks and his field awareness allows him to pick apart defenses.

Bishop’s defense has been rock solid in the playoffs. Against Golden Valley, it put tremendous pressure on the quarterback, took away the vertical passing game and shut down the running game.

Quartz Hill quarterback Matthew Tago rushed for 111 yards against Dos Pueblos. Click to view larger
Quartz Hill quarterback Matthew Tago rushed for 111 yards against Dos Pueblos. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk file photo)

Senior linebacker Ashton Borgeson spearheaded the stellar defensive performance. He was honored as the Cal-Hi Sports Defensive Player of the Week in Southern California after recording a team-high 13 tackles and recording a sack. He has 156 tackles this season and eight sacks.

The Bishop offense has operated on all cylinders during the post season, rolling up 204 points in four games. Quarterbacks Jake Engel and Dave Gladish have done a masterful job of using the many weapons in the lineup and avoiding turnovers.

Coach Tom Crawford said that despite all the adjustments the team had to make for practice sessions during the week due to the Thomas Fire, the players have maintained their focus.

The winner of this game will be play the winner of the Northern Regional game between Marin Catholic and Redding-Shasta on Dec. 16.

Bishop Diego (13-1) vs. Quartz Hill (13-1), at Cal Lutheran, 6 p.m. Radio: 1290 AM — The Cardinals rolled through the Southern Section playoffs to win their first CIF football title. They’ll face a Quartz Hill team that has a big line, a fast running back (Entonio Washington) and an athletic quarterback in Matthew Tago. Tago, a Division 1 prospect, is the key. He’s like Tim Tebow when he played at Florida, a physical quarterback who makes and extends plays with his arm and his legs. Bishop was terrific on defense in its title win over Golden Valley. Linebackers Adrian Sorocco and Ashton Borgeson were all over the field making plays and Isaiah Veal and Dylan Streett in the secondary each picked off two passes. The offense is on fire, averaging 51 points a game. Quartz Hill hasn’t seen a running back like John Harris. This has the potential to be a high-scoring game. The Pick: Bishop Diego.

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