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News & Information

CCA Football Featured in UT PREP Sports Article

February 18, 2015
By Kevin J. Farmer, Special to the U-T

CHULA VISTA — Football players want to win; it’s the nature of the beast. Sometimes back-to-back league titles aren’t enough either. It’s no different for the “little guys.”  That’s the case for Justin Santa Maria and Carlos Quintero and the rest of their teammates at tiny Calvary Christian Academy. “I just want to win a playoff game,” said Quintero, a junior two-time all-league lineman for the Royal Knights, despite having Type-1 diabetes.

“We’ve won our league the last two years, but when they pick us for the playoffs they give us the last seed, so we have to play the first seed right away,” added Santa Maria, a senior two-way leader. “I want to go farther; I know we can go farther.”

Over the past two years the Knights sport a perfect 9-0 league mark and an overall 16-6 record. Their reward for an 8-2 record last year was the eighth seed in Division V and a date against unbeaten Crawford. The Colts won 49-14 and advanced to the title game.

Size is the problem. Calvary has an enrollment of fewer than 400 students — that’s kindergarten through 12th grade. The high school is lucky to number close to 100. Presently 21 players make up the roster and four of those are Chinese foreign exchange students who never played the game before.

Those numbers make other Division V schools look big.

“I don’t just want to win a playoff game, I think we can take it all the way and win the playoffs,” said the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Santa Maria, his words echoing his relentless style of play as one of the team’s leading ball carriers and top tackler. “I don’t think those teams are that good.”

Santa Maria began playing football at 7 years old with the Otay Ranch Broncos Pop Warner then moved over to the Olympian Saints after that team formed.

While he doesn’t regret not having a chance to play against the public schools with their crowds and talent, he does wonder what it would have been like.

He’ll have a chance to show his wares against some of that talent. He was invited to play in the SDFNL’s third annual All-Star Game on Dec. 27 at Helix High School.

“The one thing I have to work on is when I run I tend to try to run over people,” admitted Santa Maria, who also plays basketball and volleyball. “They say that’s fine in our league, but I won’t be able to do that against the players from schools in that game. It’s an honor to be invited.”

[CarlosQuintero] For Quintero, his diabetes has become as much an inspiration as it has an issue.

“I want to be a doctor,” explained the 5-foot-11, 197-pound offensive guard/defensive tackle. “I guess having to learn so much dealing with the diabetes has had a lot to do with that.”

Quintero seems to handle his diabetes with remarkable ease.

“I told him, ‘Don’t count on me, when you need to check your blood sugar just go do it,’” said Calvary head coach Gene Rheam. “He’ll point at me or give me a nod and he does what he needs to do.”

Quintero, who also plays volleyball and soccer, hopes to attend UCSD. He knows the demand of his major will most likely prevent him from any future in competitive sports.

Not so for Santa Maria.

“I don’t want my senior year to be my last year playing football,” said Santa Maria, who is getting looks from Azusa Pacific, Mount St. Joseph in Ohio and Simpson in Iowa.

Neither one intends to walk away from this season without a least one playoff win.

Click here to read the UT Prep article online

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2/18/15 - By Kevin J. Farmer, Special to the U-T