Archive for the “San Diego” Category

The San Diego Chargers found themselves with the 16th best defense in 2011 but ranked dead last on 3rd downs.  A dimension the Chargers have lacked over the years has been a consistent pass rush and with Peyton Manning joining the division the emphasis of the 2012 draft is without a doubt defense. With glaring needs at Safety and Outside Linebacker look General Manager A.J. Smith to address these needs in the first half of the draft.

Round 1 – Pick 18

Whitney Mercilus DE/OLB, Illinois –  Assuming the Chargers don’t trade up to grab Alabama safety Mark Barron or trade down for Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith, I can see A.J. Smith giving another go at an outside pass rusher. Mercilus was the nation’s sack leader with 16, but may scare some teams due to his lack of productivity before his Junior year. This could hinder his chances of not being drafted higher than pick 18. He shows natural pass rush abilities, comes quick off the edge and knows how to work his way towards the QB. He will have to learn a few more pass rush moves as he won’t be able to rely strictly on speed. With the newly acquired Jarret Johnson, any OLB drafted in this spot would split time with the vet, easing his way into the starting spot over the years.

Other possible selections: LB Dont’a Hightower, S Mark Barron, S Harrison Smith

Round 2 – Pick 49

Bruce Irvin LB/DE, West Virginia – With the top 2 safeties off the board, the Chargers could be in a position to draft another highly touted sack artist, LB/DE Bruce Irvin. Much like Mercilus, Irvin comes off the edge very quick and shows natural pass rush abilities. He has a tall lengthy build, and can be a great situational rusher. He is very similar to Aldon Smith of the 49ers in the way he uses his speed and change of direction skill to get past blockers. The safety from Boise State, George Iloka, could be targeted here too. But a great pass rush can make a secondary look elite. I can’t imagine A.J. Smith being all that thrilled about being ranked dead last on 3rd down stops last season.  In order to change that, he will have to improve this unit by any means necessary.

Other possible selections: OLB Ronnell Lewis, OLB Bobby Wagner, S George Iloka

Round 3 – Pick 78

Alameda Ta’amu DT, Washington –  Antonio Garay has fit in well as the nose tackle in a rotational defensive line, but with this pick the Chargers could finally have the true NT they’ve been looking for since the release of Jamal Williams back in 2010. A mountain of a man at 6’3” and in the 320-350lbs. range, Ta’amu is the prototype nose tackle for a 3-4 defense. The majority of the time he takes up 2 blockers which frees up other rushers and it is rare to see him get pushed backwards. He has shown he can consistently take on double team blocks, and has the ability to break through them to make the tackle. He will never be a sack leader, but his strengths against the run and taking up space in the middle make him a great fit for the Chargers pass rush.

Other possible selections: S/CB Brandon Hardin, CB, Casey Hayward, RB Ronnie Hillman

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La Costa Canyon’s Mike Riis recently committed to the University of Denver to play for their Men’s Lacrosse Program. We caught up with Mike to do a little Q&A to see how he got where he is today and the advice he has for others on the same journey. See what he had to say below.

What factors made you decide on the University of Denver? First of all the academics, I plan on majoring in business and the program they have there is great. I also liked the location of it being close to home yet I am still playing big time Division I lacrosse. I was very impressed with Coach Tierney and his entire staff and I look forward to being coached by them over the next four years.

Were there any other schools you were seriously considering? The other schools that I was seriously considering were Drexel in Philadelphia as well as Air Force and Chapman University in California.

What are you most looking forward to most about playing for the University of Denver? The biggest thing that I am looking forward to about playing at Denver is the lacrosse games versus big time schools such as Syracuse and Duke. Those games will be huge for me because I have watched those teams play on TV all of my life.

What advice would you give to other student athletes looking to play in college? The main advice I would give is just to work hard. The main reason I am going to play lacrosse in college is from countless hours playing wall ball and shooting at the school nearby.

Congratulations again to Mike and his family! Check out Mike’s SportsForce highlight video below to see him in action.

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A powerhouse battle of two top teams delivered a game worthy of being played at Qualcomm Stadium. But only one could actually earn the prize of a trip to Mission valley, and it was the Vista Panthers (11-1) who will move one step closer to becoming champions.

Brandon Ivy kicked a 23-yard field goal with three minutes left in the fourth quarter to give Vista the victory over Torrey Pines 20-17 in the CIF San Diego Section Division I semifinals at Falcons Stadium.

“The Falcon defense came out and fought every single play. But we wanted it more. We fought hard, we executed and we put 110% in every play,” said Vista’s senior tailback Shakeel Marshall, who had 107 rushing yards on 26 carries in the game.

Postgame video interviews:

Vista went into this game knowing that they were going to get a lot of Wilson and that he would be carrying the load for the Torrey Pines (10-2) team. With the adjustments made at half time, the Panthers defense was able to shut down Wilson’s running game in the second half.

Torrey Pines running back John Wilson had two touchdowns (41 and 12 yards receiving) and carried the ball 16 times for 126 yards (110 first half.)

“John Wilson is a heck of a player and a runner. Our goal was to get Wilson out of the game and we did not do a good job at that in the first half. I thought we made some good adjustments in the second half to shut him down,” said Vista head coach Dan Williams.

Vista scored after Marshall blocked a punt, setting up a 25-yard pass from quarterback Christian Gallardi to Myron Seabrook, giving the Panthers an early lead 7-0 in the first quarter.

Brandon Ivy came in for a 21-yard field goal attempt at the end of the first half to tie the game 10-10. Instead, Torrey Pines drew a penalty for roughing the kicker. This penalty put the ball on Torrey Pines 2-yard line allowing for an easy 2-yard touchdown run by Joey McFadden on the following play for a 14-10 halftime lead.

The loss of Torrey Pines’ starting quarterback John Cabot to a shoulder injury at the beginning of the second half was a huge upset for the Falcons.

The Falcons’ backup quarterback Andrew Perkins tied the game in the fourth quarter 17-17 with a well-executed hook and lateral play to Mitchell Yocum who tossed the ball to John Wilson who went 41 yards for the touchdown.

Vista senior Stefan McClure had a huge impact on the Vista game in the fourth quarter. McClure had a 44-yard punt return that set up a 40 yard field goal by Brandon Ivy. His 36-yard reception helped position Vista for their only other score of the second half, the game-winning 23-yard field goal by Ivy.

Coach Williams said about player Stefan McClure, “Stef is the best player in the county in my opinion. He can play on both sides of the ball. He is explosive. He is our go to guy. I am happy he is on our team.”

“It was a tough game out there tonight. We had some ups and downs, some three and outs, but our defense really stood up tonight. It was a huge game and a huge win,” said Stefan McClure in regards to Vista’s victory.

Vista will meet fourth-seeded Mira Mesa in the Division Championship game Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Qualcomm Stadium.

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Champions find a way to win.  For the seventh straight year, the Oceanside Pirates will have a chance to become the champions of the CIF-San Diego Section Division II.

With a defensive effort for the ages, the 4th seeded Oceanside Pirates (9-3) performed their annual role as the foil for the Helix football program, ending the Highlanders’ season for the third straight season with a 24-17 victory at Jim Arnaiz Field on the Helix campus in La Mesa.

“That was a championship football game right there,” said Oceanside head coach John Carroll, who will seek his seventh consecutive Division II section championship on Monday night against Mission Hills, “Lesser young men would have found a way to fail.  These are warriors with the hearts of champions.”

T.J. Sunia (#43, pictured) returned a fourth quarter fumble 39 yards for the game-winning score, and Adam Francis had a first half 49 yard interception return for another touchdown.  The fourteen defensive points were decisive, but Oceanside’s defense didn’t stop there, making three red zone stops to turn back Helix (11-1), including a pair inside the Oceanside 15 in the final 4:22 of the fourth quarter.

Postgame video interviews: T.J. Sunia/head coach John Carroll

A matchup which annually decides the Division II champion turned to heartbreak for Helix once again.  This time, the Highlanders were favored to beat their nemeses from Oceanside, with the top seed in the bracket and home field advantage.  Instead, the Scotties saw their season end at the Pirates’ hands for the sixth time in seven playoff meetings and the third year in a row.

“We just wanted it more,” said senior safety Adam Francis.

Despite two first half interceptions and the crucial fourth quarter fumble, Helix still had a first-and-goal opportunity to tie the game with 1:10 to play in the game, as a pass interference penalty set up the Scotties at the five yard line.

On first and second down, Helix tailback Darien Hancock (34 carries, 142 yards, TD) tried the middle of the field and was stopped cold.  With time ticking down to twenty seconds and Helix out of timeouts, the Highlanders were forced to burn their third down play on a spike.  On fourth and goal from the five, Helix was called for delay of game.

Pushed back to the ten yard line, quarterback Brandon Lewis’ pass for Sam Meredith went over his hands and out of bounds, sending the Pirates back to the “Q”.

The defensive scramble was an appropriate end to a ragged game which saw both teams make big mistakes on offense.  First, Helix was turned back empty handed after taking their opening drive to the Oceanside three yard line.  Sophomore linebacker William Gulley sacked Lewis for a ten yard loss on third and goal, and Vann Sabin’s 29 yard field goal attempt missed wide right.

After both teams exchanged punts, Lewis took a first down snap from the Helix ten yard line and heaved a bomb downfield for wide receiver Cameron Lee.  With the ball well over his head, Lee gave up on the pass attempt, but Oceanside senior defensive back Matthew Rojas did not.  Running down the Lewis arc for an interception, Rojas returned the pass 45 yards to the Helix 20 yard line.

While Oceanside’s ensuing drive was stopped cold by the Helix defense, Jose Basurto booted a 36 yard field goal to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead at the :39 mark of the first quarter.

The Scotties were again generous hosts on their next possession, taking a false start penalty on third-and-15 from their own 26 yard line.  Instead of running a conservative draw play or underneath pass on third-and-20, Lewis went for the downs, and his deep pass intended for Austin Gonzalez was intercepted by senior safety Adam Francis.  Weaving his way back through the Helix offense, Francis returned the interception 49 yards for a touchdown and a 10-0 Oceanside lead with 9:58 to play before halftime.

“It was the greatest feeling, I can’t believe it,” said Francis of his big play.

It took a defensive play to get Helix back into the football game.  Tofi Pao Pao (9-18, 100 yards, 2 INT) was picked off by junior linebacker K.C. Smith with 2:12 to play in the second quarter, setting up Lewis’ 35 yard touchdown target to Gonzalez.  Senior defensive back Kenny Keys also intercepted Pao Pao on the final play of the first half, but his interception return was stopped at the Oceanside 18 yard line as time expired.

Trailing 10-7 to start the third quarter, Helix took the second half kickoff and marched 80 yards on 11 plays, all handoffs to Darien Hancock.  Gaining 75 of the 80 yards on the drive (the other five came on an offsides penalty), Hancock plunged into the Oceanside end zone from a yard out to give the Highlanders their first (and only) lead of the game with 6:04 to go in the third quarter.

After going three-and-out on their next possession, the Pirates turned to what else but defense to regain control of the football game.  Oceanside forced a quick three-and-out from Helix, then took advantage of a shanked punt by Jake Reed to take over at the Helix 48 yard line.  Three plays later, senior tailback Noah Tarrant stepped out of a tackle and raced 39 yards up the middle of the field for a 17-14 Pirates’ lead.

While Hancock was a horse for Helix, he wore down late in the third quarter.  Darien’s sixteenth carry of the quarter was a five-yard loss, with Gulley stripping the football loose.  Sunia scooped up the loose ball and took it 29 yards for a touchdown and a 24-14 lead.

“I blitzed and just saw the football lying there,” said Sunia, “I was unsure at first but just scooped it up, and I think the quarterback was behind me.  My instincts said ‘take it’ so I just took it and…I was blessed today.”

Still, the undefeated Highlanders were not done.  Sabin’s 46 yard field goal with 5:50 remaining made it a 24-17 game.  When Tarrant fumbled on Oceanside’s next possession, Raymont Nailon recovered for the Highlanders deep in Oceanside territory at the 20 yard line.

After gaining five yards on their first two plays, Helix took to the air, with Lewis throwing incompletions on third and fourth down in the end zone.  The Pirates then had an opportunity to run out the clock but failed to do so, punting the ball back to Helix with 2:20 to play.

Postgame audio interview: Oceanside senior Anthony Mount

A pass to Gonzalez of 30 yards set up Helix at the Oceanside 22 yard line.  On second and 10 from the 11 yard line, Lewis’ pass to Sam Meredith drew pass interference from the side judge, giving Helix a first-and-goal at the five.  But two ill-advised runs forced a spike and then a delay of game penalty set up the final, fateful incompletion.

The Pirates will now face Mission Hills in the Division II finals on Monday, December 6th at 4:30pm.  It will be a rematch of Oceanside’s 48-28 win over the Grizzlies on October 8th.

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SAN MARCOS–Let a good team hang around long enough on their home field in the playoffs and it’s bound to bite you.  Compound your mistakes with a goal line fumble and a missed extra point, and your season’s probably going to come to an end.

The Mission Hills Grizzlies took advantage of Rancho Bernardo’s mistakes, then made their own luck along the way, coming up with a handful of clutch plays to pull out a 14-13 win at Jack Ashby Field on the Mission Hills campus in San Marcos.  Quarterback Hunter Moore’s 21 yard touchdown pass to Aaron Salas on a fourth quarter 4th-and-16 play gave Mission Hills (9-2) the lead with 7:10 remaining in the CIF San Diego Section Division II quarterfinal contest.

“That’s a doggone good football team over there,” said Mission Hills head coach Chris Hauser, “All along we thought it would be this kind of football game.  For whatever reason, we seemed to play better the closer they got to the goal line.  ”

And to the finish line.

Rancho Bernardo (9-3) dominated the first half but came away with just a six point lead to show for it.  Setting the tone on Tyler Gomogda’s 51 yard run on the first play from scrimmage, the Broncos racked up an astounding 259 yards of total offense before halftime.  But two red zone fumbles, including quarterback Trent Sessions fumbling on a keeper from the one-inch line, held RB to just 13 points for all their trouble.

After the half, it was a whole different story.  The Mission Hills offense was able to control possession and the clock, while the Grizzlies defense held Rancho Bernardo to just 39 total yards after intermission.

“I love our defense,” said Moore, “they come together as a team, no showboats, and they get the job done.”

Postgame video interviews: Chris Hauser/Hunter Moore

Both teams used big running plays to get their offense started.  After RB scored first on senior quarterback Devin Saunders’ 1 yard QB plunge (immediately following Gomogda’s 51 yard scamper), Mission Hills answered right back on a 56 yard scoring run from junior tailback Adam Renteria.

In a 7-7 tie, the Broncos then manufactured a pair of extended marches.  An 11 play drive took RB down to the Mission Hills 20, where senior wideout Evan Mattern caught a square out pass and then fumbled when he was hit.  The Grizzlies gratefully recovered at their 19 yard line.

“Whether they made the mistake or we caused the mistake, we’ll sure take that,” said Hauser.

Rancho Bernardo has used a two-quarterback rotation all season, and when junior Trent Sessions enters the fray (moving Devin Saunders to wideout), the Broncos have a much more balanced look.  Sessions hit on 9 of 10 second quarter passes for 105 yards.  He led an 11 play, 78 yard drive to open the quarter, twice hitting Saunders for big passes.  Setting up on first and goal at the one, RB head coach Brad Elrod decided for a quarterback sneak instead of handing the ball off to Gomogda, who had 17 touchdowns on the season.

The result: a fumble, recovered by Mission Hills in their own end zone for a touchback in the key turning point of the game.

“We had opportunities to get stuff, but…it was a great football game,” said a downcast coach Elrod after the game.

Brad Elrod postgame interview:

Next, it was Mission Hills’ turn to cough up the football, as Moore and center Elias Choufani botched a center-QB exchange on fourth and one from their own 44 yard line.  It took just five plays for the Broncos to march downfield and score, with Gomogda taking it in this time from the six-yard line for a 13-7 RB lead.  The extra point, however, was a pop fly by kicker Jeremy Hutchins which drifted right of the goalposts.

The Grizzlies thought they would catch yet another big break right before halftime, as Mission Hills punted and Broncos’ punt returner David Jones muffed the kick after signaling for a fair catch.  Luckily for Rancho Bernardo, the line judge anticipated the fair catch and inadvertently blew his whistle early, denying the Grizzlies a fumble recovery.  In fact, after a long conference the crew decided to have a do-over, giving RB another chance to return the punt.

Hauser was apoplectic on the sidelines, and the Broncos moved down to the Mission Hills 11 yard line before the half expired on a Hutchins missed field goal from 30 yards away.

In the third quarter, the roles reversed.  Mission Hills took control offensively but then made a crucial red zone error.  Senior wideout Josh Stephens (3 receptions, 81 yards) caught a 36 yard pass on third-and-13 heading into the end zone, but he fumbled on the five yard line.  RB senior defensive back Tyler Davey scooped up the fumble and returned it to his 30 yard line, ending the threat.

Zachary Andrews-Worline sacks Hunter Moore.  Both defenses played well for most of the night (Danny Heilprin/619Sports)Zachary Andrews-Worline sacks Hunter Moore. Both defenses played well for most of the night (Danny Heilprin/619Sports)

The second half remained scoreless into the fourth quarter, and looked like it might stay that way overall.  While the Grizzlies had success all night on third down (8-for-13 conversions), they failed on back-to-back passes from the RB 21 yard line midway through the fourth quarter.  Facing a fourth-and-16 and out of field goal range, Hauser elected to go for it, lining up four wide receivers spread across the field for Moore.

With excellent pocket protection, Moore (11-20, 173 yards, TD) looked off the safety and then brought his gaze back to the middle of the field, where top target Aaron Salas sprung wide open on a post route.  Moore hit Salas in stride for the game-tying touchdown pass, and Gio Garcia’s extra point gave Mission Hills a 14-13 lead.

“His route is a double move,” said Moore, “The safety couldn’t cover him and I was looking the other way as a decoy.  Then I looked back to Salas and saw him wide open.”

The Broncos had one more chance to take the game back on the road.  After Saunders (7-for-10, 45 yards) got the chance to play quarterback in RB’s two fruitless third quarter possessions, Sessions re-entered the game in the fourth quarter for one more extended drive.  Led by hard running from Gomogda (15 carries, 121 yards, TD) and Jones, the Broncos drove to the Mission Hills 27 yard line.

Suddenly, the Mission Hills pass rush made their first appearance of the night.  Sacks by Dominic Darby and Aaron Leauma pushed the Broncos back to the 39, where two passes went awry to end the possession.  On fourth and 23, Sessions was drilled by Anthony Lira, his final pass fluttering harmlessly to the turf.

Renteria (21 carries, 147 yards, TD) then picked up the final first down needed to burn through Rancho Bernardo’s timeouts and bleed out the clock.

The Grizzlies now escape this frying pan, only to walk into a den of angry Cougars next Thursday.  The 2nd seeded Steele Canyon Cougars await in East County, with the winner advancing to Qualcomm Stadium and the Division II finals on Monday, December 6th.

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The top-ranked Vista Panthers’ dreams for an undefeated season ended on Friday Night as the Mission Hills Grizzlies came from behind twice to post a 31-28 upset win at Mission Hills High School.

Gio Garcia’s 32 yard field goal with three minutes to play in the fourth quarter, his first field goal attempt and make of the year, gave Mission Hills the victory. The kick came after a muffed punt by Vista star tailback Shakeel Marshall, who fumbled twice on the game.

Mission Hills Grizzlies (6-2, 3-0 Avocado East) head coach Chris Hauser stated in regards to his team’s success, “This is a tremendous feeling, this season is one of a kind we have not felt like this, this year. We have won five games prior to this, but nothing compares to what we went through tonight.”

“To be down and come back and rally and get to them and find a way to get the lead and hang on to it, it means the world to our school, our football team and to the coach and staff.”

Postgame video and interview with Coach Hauser:

No one would have suspected this victory at the beginning of the game as Mission Hills trailed 14-0 in the first five minutes of opening quarter. A twenty-seven yard touchdown pass to Aaron Salas by Mission Hills quarterback Hunter Moore gave the Grizzlies their first points on the scoreboard. With only two minutes left in the first quarter Hunter Moore tied the game up with a sixty-eight yard touchdown run, making it a 14-14 game.

Hunter Moore definitely had a great game. The senior quarterback completed 11-of-14 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns, and carried the ball for 109 yards and had one touchdown, and two passing touchdowns.

Coach Hauser said in response to Moore’s great game, “He was a special kid tonight. We needed him to do things with his legs and arm tonight and lead this football team and that is what he did.”

“There was no special magic, no special words of wisdom we just believed in our game plan,” said Hauser.

The Grizzlies were again down early in the second half 28-14. This was not for long. Sitting in the Mission Hills stands, fans began to see some magic with a team that began to just believe.

In the key play of the night, Vista’s Shackeel Marshall (19 carries, 182 yards) fumbled all alone while running in for what looked to be a touchdown and a 35-21 lead. Instead, the ball was dropped untouched at the sixteen yard line and recovered by the Grizzlies. This led to Mission Hills’ fourteen-yard touchdown pass from Hunter Moore to Aaron Salas that tied the game 28-28.

“Turnovers lost this game for us, that’s the bottom line,” said Vista head coach Dan Williams.

Tied 28-28 in the fourth quarter, Mission Hills was stopped on offense and forced to punt. Marshall waited for the kick at his twelve yard line but muffed the punt, recovered by Mission Hills gunner Mitchell Cannon. While the “Blackshirts” defense held strong and pushed the Grizzlies back three yards, Gio Garcia delivered the clutch field goal which propelled the upset from 32 yards away.

As for the Mission Hills team, this was the first time in the game where they took the lead 31-28. With three minutes left, Mission Hills defense shut down Vista’s last drive of the game, giving them victory.

Vista falls to 7-1, 2-1 in league with the loss. Mission Hills, meanwhile, controls its own destiny in the Avocado East league and is sure to break into the 619 Sports/NC Times Top 10 poll after this huge win. It was a victory to savor for Hauser, a Panthers alum who left Vista’s coaching staff in 2003 to move to Mission Hills.


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It came down to eight plays inside the Vista 12 yard line.  Eight chances for Oceanside to put six points on the board.  The Pirates tried everything from power runs and slant passes to misdirection and finally, a trick play gone wrong.

The Panthers didn’t break.  In doing so, the Panthers broke a four-year streak of county domination by Oceanside and claimed a win for the ages.

The #1 ranked Vista Panthers (4-0) twice stopped #4 Oceanside (2-2) on a fourth down situation inside their seven-yard line, forced five turnovers and four sacks, and still held on for dear life to beat the Pirates 27-21 at Dick Haines Stadium.

The 619 Preps Game of the Week lived up to its billing, with two of the top programs in the county trading body blows.  Vista trailed 14-10 at halftime but scored two third-quarter touchdowns to take the lead.  After building a 27-14 advantage, the Panthers withstood a relentless charge by Oceanside, including an onside kick recovered with 2:42 left in the fourth quarter.

“This is a game you’ll always have in your memories, but it’s not a game that defines our season,” head coach Dan Williams told his team after the game.  The Panthers have higher hopes, primarily a return trip to Qualcomm Stadium.

A win over Oceanside is nothing to sneeze at, though.  The Pirates hadn’t lost to a San Diego Section team since falling at Helix 28-20 on August 31st, 2007.

The Panthers’ offensive line overcame early struggles to open holes for senior tailback Shakeel Marshall, who rushed for 186 yards and two touchdowns.  127 of his yards came in the second half, including 70 yards on Vista’s go-ahead 6 play, 80 yard touchdown drive to start the third quarter.

“In the first half, we weren’t sure what to expect,” said Marshall, “We made our adjustment in the locker room and we executed it.”

Postgame video interviews: Stefan McClure/Shakeel Marshall

The adjustment Oceanside needed to make was to screw the football in a bit more tightly.  Returning from injury, senior tailback Noah Tarrant (15 carries, 75 yards, TD) lost fumbles on two of his first three touches, setting the tone for a night of Pirate giveaways.

Sophomore Pirates quarterback Tofi Pao Pao again showed off a cannon arm and tight spiral which will undoubtedly make him one of the top players in the county in coming years.  He finished 13-for-29 for 219 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw an interception and lost a fumble.

Credit has to go to the Vista defense, which on three different occasions turned aside the Pirates inside their red zone without allowing any points.  The first was a crucial defensive stop to end the second quarter.  Leading 14-10 on a 16-yard touchdown run by Tarrant and Pao Pao’s 10-yard scoring target to Nate Small, the Pirates got the ball on their own 7 yard line with 4:12 remaining in the half.

Oceanside marched 81 yards in seven plays to the Vista 12 yard line and threatened to take an eleven point lead into the locker room.  Instead, Panthers linemen Justin Ponce and Joey McFadden came up with back-to-back sacks to push the Pirates back to the 18.  From there Jose Basurto’s 35 yard field goal try missed wide left with 24 seconds left before halftime.

Marshall’s 37 yard run out of a broken tackle highlighted the Panthers’ opening drive of the third quarter, which was capped by a five-yard touchdown pass from Vista quarterback Christian Gallardi to senior wideout Stefan McClure (5 receptions, 56 yards).

The Vista defense continued to pound away at Pao Pao, who showed great toughness for a sophomore hanging in the pocket despite heavy pressure all game.  However, when linebacker John Palmer came free on a third quarter blitz and crushed Pao Pao, he fumbled and the Panthers recovered.

Vista quickly converted on Marshall’s second touchdown run of the game, a twelve yard scamper.  His score was set up by heavy running from the Panthers’ bruising fullback McFadden, who added 56 yards on 11 carries on the night.

The game seemed to be slipping away from Oceanside.  A Pao Pao sideline pass was intercepted by senior Vista linebacker Jeremiah Kose and converted into a Brandon Ivy 32 yard field goal for a 27-14 lead.

“I really didn’t like the way we played in the third quarter,” said Oceanside head coach John Carroll, “I thought the defense played poorly, and it took us giving up two touchdowns to make an adjustment.  But in the fourth quarter we were a championship-level football team.”

The Pirates then held the ball for 11 plays to start the fourth quarter, driving all the way to the Vista 2 yard line.  A crucial false start on second-and-goal from the 2 pushed Oceanside back five yards and forced them to pass.  Pao Pao missed on three straight, overthrowing Demario Coleman (five catches, 122 yards, TD) on the last corner route.

The Pirates didn’t get the ball back until the 3:18 mark, but with a quarterback like Pao Pao, you’re never out of a game.  Unloading a powerful arcing spiral down the right sideline, Pao Pao connected with Coleman on a gorgeous 53-yard fly pattern for a blitzkrieg score to change momentum.

Oceanside then went for the onside kick, which was booted right at Kose.  The senior (who had earlier dropped two perfect passes over the middle as a tight end, each of which would have gone for huge yardage) saw the ball carom right off his hands and into the scrum, where the Pirates’ Kris Moore recovered.

Pao Pao hit senior receiver Matthew Rojas for a 21-yard gain and then found Coleman underneath for 22 more.  Suddenly the Pirates were on the Vista 12, knocking on the door to take the lead and steal a win out of Dick Haines Stadium.

First, an incompletion.  Then, senior receiver Anthony Mount got stopped for three yards on a sweep.  On third and seven, Pao Pao scrambled and seemingly had an open corner of the end zone to run for, but he hesitated to look at the field and only wound up gaining four yards.

Fourth down and three from the Vista five yard line.  The Pirates called timeout, then the Panthers, then the Pirates again.  Finally, Oceanside lined up and surprised everyone by going for a wide receiver reverse option pass.

Everyone but Vista, that is.  Linebacker TJ McWhite helped blow up the play and string the receiver Nate Small out to the sideline.  Small retreated further and further back, all the way past the 25 yard line.  Finally he let a pass go deep into the middle of the end zone, where McClure was waiting to haul it in and secure the win for the Panthers.

Vista’s McClure and Kose both insisted the Panthers were looking for the trick play and were ready for it.  That led to an exasperated laugh from Oceanside coach John Carroll:

“It’s the first time we used it all year!” said Carroll, “We used it years ago…they must have remembered.”

These rivals have long memories.

The win was a relief for Kose, who would have been the goat if Oceanside could have scored.

“It was amazing,” said Kose, “Coach (Williams) emphasized how good they were, how they were going to run all over us and pass all over us, so it really got us fired up.”

Vista will hit the road now for back-to-back regional rivalry games against El Camino and Escondido.  Oceanside will re-open renovated Simcox Field next week when they host Mission Hills.

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Sport: Boys Volleyball Position: Setter Height: 6’4″ Class: 2010 School: Mt. Carmel High School San Diego, CA

Mount Carmel captain Connor Mortland was named the CIF San Diego Section Athlete of the Year for Boys Volleyball. Connor won three consecutive CIF San Diego Section Division II Championships with the Sun Devils and helped them advance to the Southern Section Finals this season, but Mount Carmel was ultimately defeated by Manhattan Beach Mira Costa. The Sun Devils finished 32-4 this season under the lead of the stand out setter. Connor will continue his volleyball career at NYU.
To view Connor’s complete SportsForce profile click here –

Scouting report courtesy of SportsForce – Home for college Sports Recruiting Videos, Tips, Tools and Premium Services –

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Many of the top players and teams in the baseball-rich state of California gathered at San Diego State’s Tony Gwynn Stadium last Saturday for the San Diego Section High School Baseball Championships. Four teams were able to walk away from the day with the title “San Diego Section Champions.” Major-league scouts, college coaches, recruiters, and media members were littered throughout the stands, as some of the best high school talent in the country showcased themselves in America’s Finest City.

Division IV: Coronado 7 Madison 6

The seventh seeded Islanders finished off their miracle run to the championship in stunning fashion, rallying from a five-run deficit to beat the heavily favored Warhawks. Coronado sophomore pitcher Jake Meloche overcame his team’s early defensive miscues and pitched a complete game while being charged for only two earned runs. Seven of the eight hits he allowed were singles, and the underclassman lefty showed incredible poise while holding Madison to only one run in the final six innings, allowing his team to come back. At the plate, the Islanders were paced by senior right fielder Zack Wheeler, who went 3-for-4 with a double and three runs scored.

Division III: El Capitan 4 Cathedral Catholic 2

As, expected, the DIII Championship was dominated by a left-handed starter. But it wasn’t the left-handed started everyone thought it would be. Cathedral Catholic junior Daniel Camarena, who is expected to be selected for the Aflac All-America game, was solid, holding the Vaqueros scoreless on four hits through the first five innings. But in the fifth inning, it was evident that Camarena was wearing down and balls were being hit hard, and in the sixth inning those hard hit balls found some holes. El Capitan junior Josh Tulledge capped the four run sixth inning rally with a 2-run single that put the Vaqueros up for good.

As good as Camarena was through the first five innings, showcasing a nasty curveball and great athleticism while fielding his position, his lefty counterpart Troy Conyers was even better, going 5 1/3 innings while allowing only four hits and two runs. He allowed only one extra-base hit, a triple by Camarena in the sixth.

San Diego State commit, El Capitan shortstop Tyrone Wiggins went 1-for-4, but was robbed of a base hit twice and showed good range at short. El Capitan sophomore catcher Chuck Moormon went 2-for-3 with a powerful double and had great receiving and blocking skills behind the plate. For Cathedral, Oklahoma State-bound left fielder Casey Munoz had a rough day, going 0-for-2 and misplaying multiple balls in left field.

Division II Championship: Grossmont 8 Helix 0

This was the Joe Musgrove show, plain and simple. The junior right-hander simply overpowered Helix, pitching 2-hit shutout and needing only 68 pitches to finish off the Highlanders. The 6-foot-4 Musgrove showcased a low-90’s fastball and killer curveball along with pinpoint control and impressive mound presence. He finished with six K’s and walked three.

The Foothillers jumped on top early, scoring seven runs and sending 11 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first inning, giving Musgrove all the lead he would need, and then some. For good measure, Musgrove also had the hardest hit ball of the day, a line drive that thundered off the left-field wall.

Grossmont shortstop Evan Potter, a San Diego State commit, went 2-for-4 with two singles and a run scored. Senior left fielder Steven Brault was the offensive star of the day, going 3-for-4, finishing a home run shy of the cycle and two RBI.

Division I: Rancho Bernardo 9 Poway 5

The day’s premier event, featuring two of the most prominent and historic high school baseball programs in the nation, did not disappoint, as probable draftees and college commits galore put on quite a show for the sold out crowd. The long-time rivals each got on the board in the first inning, RB getting one in the top half on a Brandon Berry RBI double and Poway touching up Arizona State commit Trevor Williams for three runs courtesy of back-to-back-to-back doubles and a single by the first four batters. But Williams showed why he is one of the top prospects in the nation, setting down 14 of the next 17 Poway hitters he faced after those first four batters. He also was mostly a two-pitch pitcher, using a low-90’s fastball and a power curve with good break to thwart Poway for the remainder of the game. Williams, who is expected to be drafted in the top 10 rounds of the MLB Draft, went the distance, allowing five runs on ten hits while striking out five and walking none. He allowed six hits and two runs over his final six innings. Leading the way at-bat for RB was Berry, who hit the only home run in the four games today, with a 370-foot blast to left-center along with a double.

Poway’s Evan Thomas lacked the mound presence of his counterpart Williams, visibly showing his frustration and struggling mightily with his control. He would finish with four earned runs on six hits and three walks in five innings of work, and threw at least two balls to almost every batter faced.

The teams entered the seventh inning with RB up 5-3, but the Broncos rocked Titans reliever Keegan Yuhl for four runs in the top half of the inning, with the big blow coming on a two-run double by center fielder Anthony Vanroy.

Poway tried to stage a comeback in the bottom of the frame, scoring two runs off Williams, but in the end it was too little too late for the Titans, as RB wrapped up its fifth section crown since 1999.

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Sport: Baseball Positions: Pitcher Height: 5’11” Class: 2010 School: Canyon Crest High School San Diego, CA

Canyon Crest Academy senior Matt Malott entered elite company, when he pitched a perfect game against Bloomfield, Colorado, in the La Jolla Country Day tournament at Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego, CA. Matt struck out ten batters in his dominant seven inning performance with a variety of pitches including a four-seam fastball, curve, change-up, and two-seam fastball.

A recent SportsForce combine participant, Matt was an event standout with superior control and command for prep level athlete. Canyon Crest Academy head coach Ryan Sienko emphasized Matt’s abilities when questioned after the game by the North County Times saying that Matt, “…mixed his pitches really well. He is a hard working kid that pounds the strike zone.” Matt’s performance was truly spectacular and we at SportsForce want to congratulate the SportsForce alum on his great achievement and what will likely be an impressive and successful season.

To view Matt’s complete SportsForce profile click here –

Highlight Video and Scouting report courtesy of SportsForce – Home for college Sports Recruiting Videos, Tips, Tools and Premium Services –

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