Oceanside CA— The El Camino Wildcats advance to the CIF San Diego Championship game after winning a thriller over the Oceanside Pirates at Herb Meyer Stadium, 49-42.
The win avenges the Wildcats loss to the cross-town rival Pirates, three weeks ago in the City Championship, and stops an eight-game losing skid against the Pirates including a 23-14 loss to Oceanside in the 2015 Championship game.
Early on, it looked like a replay of the City Championship game where the Wildcats had trouble stopping the Oceanside rushing attack. The Pirates drove 80 yards, on their first possession and took a 7-0 lead with 6:48 left in the first quarter.
The Wildcats tied it up after a squib kick, on the kick-off, gave El Camino a short field. Senior RB, Chris Brown capped off the scoring drive with a 12-yard run around the left side.
El Camino had trouble containing Pirate Freshman RB Kavika Tua in the first match-up this year and he proved difficult to stop again in this game. The Pirates would go back on top in a four play drive featuring Tua who capped of the drive with a run up the middle.
Wildcat QB, Jaden Casey, who has been masterful in the two-minute drill this season would lead his team on a 52-yard drive and taking the ball in himself to tie the game at 14 with 1:33 left in the half.
On the first play from scrimmage after a touchback on the kick-off, Pirate QB/RB Kyrin Beachem found a seam down the right sideline and sprinted 79-yards before being brought down at the one. Kavika Tua took it in from there giving the Pirates the lead with 1:04 left in the half.
1:04 is plenty of time for Casey who would strike again hitting a wide open Malachi Russell in the end zone as time ran out in the half to tie the game again at 21.
Beacham would hit Armand Fesili for a 20 yard touchdown to take a 28-21 lead in the third quarter.
Casey followed suit by hitting Malachi Russell again, this time for a 66 yard touchdown. The Wildcats would take their first lead late in the third quarter on Rense Garner’s run up the middle.
The Wildcats would double their lead taking advantage of Kyrin Beachem’s muffed punt return. Jaden Casey shook off two would be tacklers in the backfield, scrambled to his left and hit Wayne Steward at the four yard line and Steward took it in from there.
Kyrin Beachem made up for his miscue in the next series hitting a wide open, Armand Fesili for an 80 yard touchdown bringing the Pirates within 7.
Oceanside would tie it up once again when Kavika Tua powered the ball up the middle, with some help from the offensive line and taking what looked like half of the El Camino defense with him into the end zone.
Tied up at 42 with the clock winding down, it was time for Casey’s two-minute magic once again. The Wildcats drove down to the two yard line and with a little trickery and play acting, Casey lined up under center, with the lineman standing up, acted like he was giving instructions to his wide-outs when the center quick snapped the ball, catching the Pirates off guard and Casey followed the center, Nik Parker, in for the winning touchdown.
“It doesn’t matter how we do it, right? It’s just that you do it and we did it. We are going to the Championship,” said first year El Camino Head Coach, Michael Hobbs after the game. “Our guys never gave up no matter what happened. I told them before the game that this was going to be a tough one. No matter what happens, when adversity hits you, how do you react? Our kids just continued to fight. We never had our heads down. You saw it on our sideline that these kids believed we were going to win this game. When they scored a touchdown, not matter what happened, they still believed we were going to win this game and we did. We got it.”
The number one seed, El Camino Wildcats will travel way, way down south to Southwestern College for the title game against the number two seed, Eastlake. The 10-2 Titans advance after their home win over the Carlsbad Lancers, 24-21. Carlsbad ends their season at 6-6.