Sage Hill falls to 0-3

In their 11th season, Sage Hill School's football team is off to its first 0-3 start in program history. Sage was manhandled on Friday, losing, 30-8, to nonleague visitor Capistrano Valley Christian.

With sophomore quarterback CJ McCord out with a broken arm, Sage's passing game struggled. Senior Harrison Ray stepped in McCord's place, completing just three of nine for 19 yards in the first half, but ended the night nine for 17 for 76 yards, along with an interception.

The two teams hadn't squared off since 2008, so Capistrano Valley reintroduced itself by putting on a passing clinic for Sage. Led by senior quarterback Riley Babick, the Eagles scored four touchdowns through the air. Just five minutes into the game, Babick tossed an eight-yard touchdown pass to freshman receiver Ben Sukut.

"That No. 3 is a freshman and he may be the best receiver we see all year," Sage Hill Head Coach JR Tolver, San Diego State University's all-time leading receiver, said of Sukut.

Babick connected for another touchdown pass in the second quarter, hitting senior tight end Luke Stevens on a 31-yard dump and run to make it 14-0.

With Capistrano Valley starting to pull away, Sage relied on tailback Joe Melita's legs to keep its hopes alive. Melita, who began playing football as a sophomore, originally started his football career as a kicker. In just his third game as a running back, Melita compiled 133 yards on the ground on 15 carries in the first half alone.

Just two minutes before halftime, Sage increased its deficit by two as the Lightning's long snapper launched the ball over junior punter Will Burns' head and out of the end zone for a safety.

Things went south as an already short-staffed Sage squad had five players come up with injuries in the second half. Senior cornerback Charlie Kim injured his right ankle in the third quarter. The very next play, senior Thomas Fenner was on the turf.

"That's what a family is all about," Tolver said of the injuries. "Hopefully our young guys take advantage of the opportunity to play."

Babick found his tight end, Stevens, again for a five-yard touchdown pass with six minutes left in the third quarter.

Two minutes later, Babick connected for a 30-yard score with freshman Shae Martinez on the receiving end. To end the evening, the six-foot-one inch, 212-pound CVC quarterback threw for his weight – 212 yards.

To milk the clock, Capistrano's sophomore running back Andre Anderson rushed for 72 yards on 15 carries in the second half, surpassing the century mark with 118 rushing yards on the evening.

With 26 seconds left on the clock, Sage continued to pound its workhorse up the gut as Melita found paydirt for a six-yard touchdown run. Melita finished the evening with 193 rushing yards on 27 carries, averaging 7.1 yards per touch.

Tolver elected to go for two as Ray plunged all 170 pounds of himself into the end zone for the two-point conversion.

The visitors kneeled on the ball after a failed Sage onside-kick attempt, ending a five-game losing streak against the Lightning.

"The players are somber, nobody wants to lose," Tolver said. " Our kids are upset that we let another one get away from us, but I think we're encouraged.

"We were down, 30-0, with six or seven minutes left, and we found a way to put some points on the board. So hopefully we can continue to build on those small victories."



Capistrano Valley Christian 30, Sage Hill 8


Fairmont Prep 7 – 9 – 14 – 0 — 30

Sage Hill 0 – 0 – 0 – 8 — 8


CVC – Sukut 8 yard pass from Babick (J. Anderson kick), 7:11.


CVC – Stevens 31 yard pass from Babick (J. Anderson kick), 9:21.

CVC – Safety: ball snapped out of end zone, 1:58.


CVC – Stevens 5 yard pass from Babick (J. Anderson kick), 5:03.

CVC – Martinez 30 yard pass from Babick (J. Anderson kick), 3:57.


SH – Melita 6 run (Ray run), 0:26.


CV – A. Anderson, 15-72.

SH – Melita, 27-193, 1 TD.


CV – Babick, 12-18-0, 212, 4 TD.

SH – Ray, 9-17-1, 76, 1 TD


CV – Stevens, 5-83, 2 TD.

SH – Roth, 4-33.

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