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Football

SBCC Plays L.A. Valley for League Championship

A league championship and a bowl bid will be on the line on Saturday when No. 24 SBCC hosts No. 14 L.A. Valley in 1 p.m. game at La Playa Stadium.

The winner takes the American Pacific League football championship and gains a shot at a postseason game. The top four teams in the American regional poll after Saturday will advance to bowl games on Nov. 19. The top four going into the weekend are L.A. Valley (9-0) East L.A. (7-2), Southwestern (8-1) and SBCC (7-2).

It figures to be a high-scoring game as Santa Barbara is ranked No. 3 in state scoring at 43.6 and the Monarchs are No. 5 (42.6). The Vaquero rushing attack, led by Cedric Cooper, is No 3 in the state (228.3 yards per game) while the Valley defense is No. 2 in total yards allowed (261.1) and No. 5 in scoring defense (15.1).

Both teams have superior special teams with the Monarchs leading the state in kick returns (28.7 avg.) and punt returns (23.6). Ahkil Crumpton is No. 1 in both, averaging 38.3 on kick returns and 31.4 on punts. SBCC is sixth in the state in kick returns (24.0) and fifth in punt returns (17.0), led by All-American Elijah Cunningham, the No. 3 KO returner in the state (30.3).

“Valley is an outstanding team and solid in every phase,” said SBCC coach Craig Moropoulos. “They create big plays in the special teams area and that has been big for them. Taking care of the ball will be a key part of the game.

“We will need to play sound on defense and not contribute to their big plays in special teams. Our guys are very excited to be in this kind of game.”

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