Old rival awaits Crusaders in final

Jeff Tully

There are two schools of thought for a team taking on an opponent for

the second time in a season after beating the opposition the first



One thought is that because it was able to defeat its foe the

first time around, the odds are good that a team will be just as

successful in the second meeting.

However, there is the argument that beating an opponent twice in a


row is inherently more difficult than defeating it just once.

The Village Christian School football team will get a chance to

test the theories at 7:30 p.m. today as it takes on visiting North

Hills L.A. Baptist in the CIF Southern Section Division XII

championship game at Granada Hills Kennedy High.

Village Christian defeated the Knights, 54-14, on Nov. 14 to win

the Alpha League championship.

Crusaders’ Coach Marty Martin said he doesn’t favor either of the


theories about beating a team a second time.

“I think it is a little bit of both,” he said. “You can’t discount

a team because you have already beaten them. But since you have

already played them, you know a little more about the team and what

they like to do.

“Yes, we did beat them the first time, but things are a lot

different now. This is a CIF championship game and that makes it a

new ball game.”


Martin also said because the teams are league rivals -- and know

one another very well -- the game will take on an added wrinkle.

“This is a rivalry, and in rivalry games, anything can happen,” he

said. “We haven’t lost to them in the three years I’ve been the head

coach here, so that means a lot to me.”

In their first meeting, the Crusaders (11-2) set the tone of the

game, as senior running back Jason Christensen scampered 60 yards for

a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage.

Christensen bashed and pounded his way on the ground, punishing

the L.A. Baptist (10-3) defenders. The running back ended with 258

yards in 12 carries and three touchdowns.

Christensen has been a workhorse on offense for the Crusaders,

rushing for 1,851 yards in 186 carries and 30 touchdowns. He averages

an impressive 9.9 yards a carry and 142.4 yards a game.

The team also has a steady quarterback in junior Jake Hagedorn,

who has completed 124 of 245 passes for 2,035 yards, 15 touchdowns

and 14 interceptions.

Martin uses a balanced offensive attack, as the team has rushed

for 2,846 yards and passed for 2,227 yards in its 13 games.

L.A. Baptist and Coach Richard Fong also like to run a balanced

offense, and the Knights can pass or run when needed.

Leading the way is senior tight end Allen Walker, who has caught

44 passes for 828 yards -- 18.8 yards a catch -- and has nine


Getting the ball to Walker is senior quarterback Alex Westmore,

who has completed 115 of 246 passes for 1,725 yards, 24 touchdowns

and 14 interceptions.

Another offensive option for the Knights is junior running back

Clarke Kress, who has gained 563 yards in 113 carries and has four


Along with the rivalry implications, the Crusaders have another

motivation for winning the title game. Securing the championship

would give the school its first crown in the 54-year history of the


“That is very important to us, to be that team that wins a

football title,” said senior lineman Jake Delaney, one of 11 Burbank

residents on the team. “We have the chance to do something no other

football team at the school has done, and we’re excited about that.”