Raul Lara’s last game as the Warren coach was a 21-7 second-round loss on Nov. 9, 2018.
The opponent: Northview.
St. Anthony (9-4) and Lara will face Northview (7-6) in the CIF Southern Section Division 10 Championship tonight at Covina District Field. The game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
“They were different then they are now,” Lara said. “They run the ball and are physical.”
Northview had a four-game winning streak during the season but have won all three playoff games by at least 14 points including a 28-14 win in the semifinals at Palmdale last week.
“It’s a long time coming,” Northview coach Marcel Perez said in an interview with SGVN reporter Fred Robledo. “We have been close for several years (first title game in school history since 1987).”
The Vikings are a run-first offense and average over 216 rushing yards per game.
Senior running back Cheo Medina has 1,598 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns while averaging over eight yards per carry.
“The preparation is going to be the same,” Perez said. “Not a lot of different things.”
Defensively, senior defensive end Lewis Madrigal leads the Vikings with 66 tackles and eight sacks.
For the Saints, the key will be to not have lapses in judgement after allowing 27 fourth-quarter points in their 49-48 win over Salesian last week.
Senior quarterback Conor Hochberg has found a rhythm in the offense by taking advantage of what the defense gives him and senior running back Sone Aupiu is well… Sone Aupiu.
“We need to concentrate and execute,” Lara said.
St. Anthony senior defensive back/wide receiver Ryan Norried said after practice on Thanksgiving it was going to be a “long wait” until the start of the game.
“Definitely a lot of nerves,” Norried said. “I am anxious and ready to play.”