Football Brings Home First CIF Championship in Stallion History


Photo courtesy of Scott Depenbrok

Jonah Johnson (12) raises the CIF Championship Plaque in celebration with his teammates and coaches. The Stallion Football team took home the title on November 29 in a game against Loyola High School. They won the game 21-15, earning the school’s first ever CIF championship in football.

Ben Bartlett , Sports Editor

SJHHS Football defeated Loyola 21-15 to win the CIF-SS Division 4 Championship, the first in school history.

The game opened with the Stallion defense forcing a Loyola “three-and-out”, stopping the Cubs offense after only three plays.

The Cubs, however, were able to punt the football all the way to the Stallion’s one-yard line. But it was not a problem for the Stallions, who were able to march the ball 99 yards down the field and score off of an 8-yard rushing touchdown from senior Austin Hogan.

Throughout the game, the offensive attack was centered around Austin Hogan who ran the ball 29 times for 144 yards and a touchdown. Hogan continues to build on his school-record of 1516 yards in one season.

Hogan credited the offensive line for his success. “I couldn’t have done it without [the offensive line]. They’re dogs. They’ve been with me since day one. I love them,” Hogan said.

Loyola answered with a touchdown in the second quarter but the extra point attempt was blocked by senior Joey Hobert to keep the Stallions up 7-6.

The Stallions were able to build their lead with a fumble that was recovered for a touchdown by Hobert on a “scoop and score” at the 20-yard line, making the score 14-6.

According to Hobert, the defense had been game-planning all week for a fumble. “We knew that we could get [a fumble] because after doing some play evaluation, we knew that they hold the ball a little loose. Once the ball was out, I saw it on the ground and I wasn’t gonna stop running unless the whistle blew,” Hobert said.

“We kind of knew they were susceptible to fumbling the ball from watching game footage,” said Defensive Assistant Coach, Juan Hernandez.

With two minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Stallions were driving. They went into a “wildcat” formation where wide receiver Joey Hobert moves to quarterback. Four yards away from the endzone, Hobert took the snap and ran it himself to the left. There were many Loyola defenders near him but he was able to dive in for the touchdown, right in front of the Stallion student section.

Down 21-6 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Loyola offense wasn’t ready to stand down. The Cubs quickly scored on a 17-yard touchdown pass but again failed on the extra point attempt. On the next drive, they made a 34-yard field goal to shrink the Stallion lead to 21-15. One touchdown and an extra point from Loyola would be enough to take the lead.

These seniors are continuing to write a wonderful legacy. I am beyond proud of them,”

— Robert Frith

With less than five minutes remaining, Loyola recovered a surprise onside kick. The Cubs were able to drive all the way down to the 15-yard line but were forced back to the 30 off a penalty. As the clock was winding down, Loyola’s efforts were ended when a deep pass into the endzone was tipped by Hobert and intercepted by sophomore cornerback Chase Schmidt. 

According to Head Coach, Robert Frith, the three keys to victory heading into the game were championship-level defense, winning the hidden yards on special teams, and controlling the ball offensively. They were able to succeed at all three and it was enough to win a CIF Championship in his second year as head coach at SJHHS.

“It’s huge. For a lot of schools, either you’ve won a championship or you haven’t and for this program, still being such a relatively new school, for us to get this thing done here tonight. Forever, San Juan Hills has won a CIF championship in football. No one can ever take this away from this group. These seniors are continuing to write a wonderful legacy. I am beyond proud of them,” Frith said. 

One of the most important things for this senior class was building a legacy.

“It’s about starting a legacy. I know the kids younger than us, the juniors, sophomores, even the freshmen that are brought up right now, they’re gonna see this and go ‘we’ve got a mission to do and we’re gonna keep grinding until we can do something like that,’” Hobert said.

The game was a sell-out for both teams. “I just love that everybody came and supported us. They didn’t have to make the hour drive out here but they did. Just coming here, it helped us play better,” Hogan said.

SJHHS advanced to this, their first CIF championship game, following their second straight Sea View League title, playoff wins against Murrieta Mesa, Hart, and a walk-off overtime win against Paramount.

The team hosted a CIF Regional Bowl Game against Aquinas on December 6. The Stallions lost 10-24 in a game that was a lot closer than the score would imply. 

Aquinas moves onto the State Championship on December 13 at Cerritos College.