SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — Seriously, can anybody stop Rio Hondo Prep?
There’s a simple answer to such a complex question: No.
Junior stud running back Charles Quintero rushed for 244 yards on 15 carries and scored on runs of 8, 76, 7 and 67 yards to lead Rio Hondo Prep over Saddleback Valley Christian in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Northeast Division playoffs on a cold and rainy Saturday night at St. Margaret’s High.
Rio Hondo Prep (12-0) will host Salesian (6-6) next Saturday in the semifinals.
Quintero proved too elusive and strong for the Warriors (7-5) defense, which needed third and fourth efforts to bring Quintero down. Junior fullback Nick Preciado was just as dangerous, rushing for 153 yards on 12 carries. He scored on a 20-yard run with 5:09 left in the third quarter to give the Kares a 47- lead.
“Charles had a great game and Nick ran pretty hard himself,” Rio Hondo Prep coach Ken Drain said. “He wasn’t feeling well but played well.”
The defense didn’t skip a beat, limiting Saddleback Valley Christian to 64 yards rushing and 135 yards total.
Jason Sterris and Ed Drain each recorded an interception and Chris Llamas and Preciado each recorded a sack.
The biggest surprise of the game came when senior Cody Cowell played despite sustaining a separated shoulder last week. The injury is nothing new to Cowell, who separated both his shoulders last season but came back in time for the playoffs. The 6-foot-1, 225 pound linebacker/tight end anchors the Rio Hondo Prep defense, but he’s just as valuable on offense.
“He’s our enforcer on defense and he’s a great tight end,” Drain said. “He’s our lead blocker on a lot of our running plays.”