Trailing 13-0 late in the first half of their league championship game against the Palo Alto Vikings, there seemed to be little panic on the Wilcox sideline. While it was a rather unfamiliar position for the undefeated Chargers, perhaps their composure was aided by Aaron Ah Sing’s sparkling defensive play, which ended Palo Alto’s opening series. On just the third play from scrimmage, Ah Sing was beat down the sideline for a long pass play. It looked like the Vikings receiver would score a 70-yard touchdown. Ah Sing however, had a different idea. The sophomore two-way star caught the receiver from behind just before the end zone, stripping him of the ball and recovering it at the two-yard line.
“Honestly, it’s just effort. It shows heart,” commented Chargers Head Coach Anthony Herrera on the touchdown-saving tackle and forced fumble. “Most players at the JV level in that situation, they give up. But Aaron didn’t give up and he chased that guy down and made a big play for us. Anyone who knows Aaron is not surprised by that. He’s quiet, but he plays with so much heart and so much passion. He’s got that look in his eye that he’s always going to play 100 percent for the guy next to him.”
Ah Sing’s jaw-dropping play didn’t lead to the Chargers scoring points on their ensuing offensive drive, but it set a tone that this game was going to be an intense battle to the end. Late in the first half the Chargers’ offense finally got going thanks, in part, to two big catches by Joey Sanchez. His second grab on the drive was a leaping catch over his defender at the one-yard line. Isaiah Flores would punch the ball across for a touchdown on the very next play.
“I told coach I knew I had a mismatch on my defender,” recalled Sanchez. “Coach trusted me to make a play and I just went up and got it.”
Down only six points at halftime, the Chargers came out for the third quarter and wasted no time taking the lead. Ah Sing took the opening kickoff 96 yards to the house. After a successful point by Flores, the Chargers were in the lead at 14-13.
The following Palo Alto drive would stall as the Chargers’ defense forced a punting situation. After a bad snap over the punter’s head, the Chargers ended up tackling the punter deep in Vikings’ territory. Two plays later it was quarterback Geremy McCollough running into the end zone on a keeper to extend the lead to 20-13.
From that point on the game turned into even more of a defensive grudge match. Midway through the third quarter the Vikings were driving towards a touchdown, but the Chargers’ defense came up with a huge goal-line stand. The Vikings would come up just short on a fourth-and-goal situation, giving the ball back to the Chargers.
“That goal line stand was amazing,” chimed Chargers defensive captain Sebastian Davila. “That was just pure energy.”
The Chargers’ defense would come up with two more big stops in the fourth quarter, to seal the victory and an undefeated championship season. It was certainly one of those games where the defense was the difference maker.
“Oh my god our defense was lights out. We got each other’s backs, you know? Our defense certainly had our back today,” acknowledged Flores. “We were doing pretty bad on offense.”
One of the more under-the-radar standouts for the Chargers’ defense was Logan Davis. The sophomore had a couple of nice pass breakups early in the game when the score was still 0-0.
“Logan is a great football player, one of those guys we can put him at any position at any time,” praised Herrera. “He’s been making plays for us all year.”
A team win and a team championship for the Chargers. A perfect 6-0 league season and perfect 9-0 overall record.