Oceanside CA- The Pirates found themselves in an odd position, Friday night. Oceanside was down 30-7 at the half as the Eastlake Titans took full advantage of Pirate miscues. Titan leading rusher, Isaiah Strayhorn struck first with an 80 yard run to put Eastlake up 7-0. On the next possession. Oceanside QB, Matt Romero was picked off, deep in their own territory setting up Isaiah Strayhorn’s second score of the night and a 14-0 lead.
The Pirates got back to within 7 on a 1 yard run by sophomore RB, Nikko Mageo. The Titans then drove 80 yards capped by a 10 yard dash by Isiah Olave, 21-7 at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, Oceanside on its own 20 when a bad snap went through Romero’s legs and rolled into the end zone. Romero booted the ball out of the back of the end zone for a safety and a 23-7 lead for the Titans. Eastlake, which doesn’t need a short field for their running backs to find the end-zone, took the ball at their 40 yard line after the punt/kick-off on the safety. The Titans drove the 60 yards ending on a 5 yard run by Dean Klaser and a 30-7 lead heading into the locker room at half.
The second half, specifically the fourth quarter, the maturity the Oceanside team has gleaned throughout the season, was on display. The Pirates got within 16 points near the end of the 3rd quarter when a Titan muffed snap from center set up a Thai Cottrell three yard run. Romero hit Cottrell on a fade to the left side of the end zone, the 2 point conversion was good 22-30 with 9 minutes left in the game. It was time for the Oceanside signature play. Romero to Mikah Holder on a 73 yard bomb, a short pass to Johnny Arzola for the 2 point conversion and the game was tied up at 30 with 6 minutes to play. The defense was able to stop the potent but shocked Titan offense. Oceanside drove deep into Eastlake territory on several Romero to Holder clutch connections but time running out,the drive stalled at the two. Senior Pirate kicker, Jackson Koonce had the ball set at the 15, nailed the kick with 3 seconds to play, sealing the comeback win and a revenge rematch against Mission Hills in the CIF San Diego Section, Open Division Championship game.
Mission Hills survived a tough Helix team 24-21 to set up the final match-up. Mission Hills defeated a turnover plagued Oceanside team 30-6 on September 27.[link] The Championship game will be at Qualcomm Dec 2.