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Football St. Anthony

PREVIEW: St. Anthony vs Tahquitz, CIF Football Playoffs

The562’s coverage of football in 2023-24 is sponsored in part by the MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center Foundation and Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital Foundation

St. Anthony (8-2) is rolling into the playoffs hot, coming off of a sweep of the Del Rey league in their last five games outscoring those opponents by a total margin of 226-49. They’ll need to keep their high level of play up this Friday as they open up the Division 8 playoffs at home against Tahquitz (8-2).

CalPreps’ projections has the Saints’ winning by just a point (31-30), which can point in the direction of a potential nailbiter in the teams matchup at Clark Field.

Head coach Raul Lara is no stranger to the CIF-SS playoffs, and has been in his fair share of close playoff games as a coach. 

“We’re breaking down film, they look pretty good,” said Lara. “When you get into the playoffs, limiting mistakes is going to be key. Execution, controlling that line of scrimmage.”

 On the offensive side of the ball, controlling the line of scrimmage will be important for Lara to get his run game going early in the contest. Rugby players Josiah Apisala and Elijah Lolesio-Pua have found success all year running behind a solid offensive line, and will be a key contributor to the Saints offense on Friday night.

On the other side of the ball Lara’s team faces a tough task in a high-powered Tahquitz offense. Tahquitz is averaging a red hot 37 points per game through their ten regular season games as they look to keep things going on the road to open up the playoffs. 

Multiple Saints will face the task of helping out on both ends of the ball, with two-way players such as Lolesio-Pua and Apisala, as well as Jahsiah Lolesio-Pua and Remy Doering.

Elijah Lolesio-Pua said the team has focused on conditioning this week to be prepared to play both ways, and says that they’ll look to other guys to help out as well.

“For this week we’re really working on our conditioning. Our second team players are gonna be a big factor as well, preparing us for this week’s game.”

Be sure to check back in with for coverage of Friday’s D8 playoff opener, with kickoff set for 7:00 PM at Clark Field.

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Eli Aquino
Eli Aquino is a high school student with plenty of writing and technology skills. He has a healthy knowledge and passion for sports and looks to take on journalism as a future career.