Football

STATE CHAMPIONSHIP — Crusaders just need to be themselves

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Ray Hamill/HumboldtSports.com – Justin Hagler is one of several St. Bernard’s seniors hoping to close out their high school careers with a victory in the state championship on Saturday.

By Ray Hamill — Don’t expect the Crusaders to do much different this weekend, as they prepare for an historic state championship showdown.

Head coach Matt Tomlin and the St. Bernard’s program have been here before, when they won a state title in 2015.

They’ll look to replicate that success and give the school a second state championship when they play South High out of Torrance in the CIF 6-AA decider at the Redwood Bowl on Saturday night.

And they won’t be looking to change much ahead of the big showdown.

“We just have to be ourselves,” Tomlin said. “What got us to the state championship is putting five receivers out there and playing with good tempo.”

The same can be said of their opponents, who are 11-4 on the season and bring a similar style of offense to the game.

And defensively the Crusaders (11-3) will need to play smart disciplined ball if they want to contain the 6-AA SoCal champions.

“They’re a spread offense team, and they’ll play with tempo like we do,” the SB head coach said. “Their quarterback (Drew Nash), he’s got a great arm and he’s got a great group of receivers to throw to.”

Including senior Cade Bargar, the Spartans’ most dangerous offensive weapon and a versatile player who will line up at receiver and in the backfield.

A Crusaders defense led by senior linebacker Justin Hagler will need to be aware of Bargar on every play.

Hagler has played a pivotal role on a unit that has been outstanding for much of the year and leads the North Coast Section in tackles with 161.

Omey key

Offensively, the Crusaders have a dynamic dual threat QB in Will Omey, who leads the NCS on total offensive yards this season (4,863) and could very well pass the 5,000 mark this weekend.

Omey, who accounted for a remarkable six touchdowns in last weekend’s NorCal playoff win, is expected to play a key role once again as everything the Crusaders do offensively will go through the stellar senior.

Also look for fellow senior Lane Thrap to close out his high school career with a big game.

Game time is set for 6 p.m., with temperatures expected to be in the high 40s and rain forecast.

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