Update: The CIF playoff brackets have been released. Oceanside is a 9 seed in Div. I and will play Eastlake at home on November 8. El Camino is a 7 seed in Div II and will host Valley Center on November 8. Carlsbad is a 3 seed in the Open Division and will play Cathedral Catholic on November 15. Vista is a 3 seed and Santa Fe Christian a 4 seed Div. II, both with a first round bye. Mission Hills is the 3 seed in Div I with a first round bye while San Marcos is a 12 seed and will play Grossmont in the first round Nov. 8
By Thomas Gutierrez
Oceanside CA – With the City Championship on the line, the Oceanside Pirates faced off against the El Camino Wildcats for their 46th meeting on a cool night at Oceanside High School’s Simcox Field.
It was a composition of two halves as the Wildcats (4-6, 2-4) overcame a 24-7 first-half deficit to outscore and shut out the Pirates (6-4, 3-3) 21-0 in the second-half, to collect a thrilling 28-24 victory over rival Oceanside High School.
It didn’t take long for the competitiveness of this classic rivalry to unfold as the Pirates struck first and furious on their first possession with a 12-yard run into the endzone by senior slot-back Tyrell Bellmon.
As the defenses tightened up in the first quarter with what seemed like a punting competition, the second quarter opened up for the potent Pirate offense when superstar running back, Kavika Tua, punched in a 2-yard TD after an explosive 51-yard run increasing the score to 14-0.
After the ensuing kick off, the Wildcats found themselves trapped in their own red-zone. And feeling the pressure from the Pirate defense, sophomore quarterback Kiah Reid was intercepted by defensive end, Kiki Laie, who took the ball 15-yards into the endzone to increase the score to 21-0.
The Wildcats confidence did not waver though as they continued to press on with a determination that only a rivalry of this magnitude could inspire. And after receiving the ball back, the Wildcat’s offense made it a short field to work with. Following a well-executed play action handoff, quarterback Joey Armentrout completed a pass to receiver Jordan Wilkins to the Pirates 5-yard line. With 6:50 left in the first-half, workhouse running back Noah Sega took it 5-yards for a touchdown to close the gap to 21-7.
With the second-half closing down, Pirate QB Jakob Harris aired the ball down the field with a 13-yard strike to Jaylin Moncrief and a 36-yard pass to big target Kamron Beachem to set up a sure touchdown for Tua. However, the Wildcats had other intentions as they denied Tua as he attempted to scamper in, which also included a crucial sack on Harris. The Pirates had to settle for three, as kicker Cedric “Belgium Blaster” Marton booted in a 34-yard field goal pushing the score to 24-7 as the first-half closed.
In the opening of the second-half Wildcat quarterback, Kiah Reid, gave the offense a lift as he gathered yards on the ground and in the air, culminating with a 25-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Jacob Gathright for a 24-14 score.
After the Wildcats defense forced the Pirates to punt again, the Wildcats once again asserted their momentum with Sega and Reid moving the ball on the ground. With 4:50 left in the third-quarter, Reid throws a nice 40-yard TD pass to Jacob Gathright once again to notch the score at 24-21.
With momentum shifted to the El Camino Wildcats on defense in the fourth-quarter, the Wildcats stuffed Tua three times in a row on the 1-yard line denying the Pirates a touchdown. Forcing the Pirates to kick a field goal, kicker Yovannis Arriaga missed a 20-yard field goal leaving the score at 24-21 with 8:32 left in the game.
In the waning minutes of the game, after a Reid to Wilkens air-strike, Sega breaks lose for a long run to the Pirates 1-yard line. As the Wildcats fans go wild, Sega finally punches it in and after the extra point conversion is made, the Wildcats take a 28-24 lead and go on to win the City Championships and bragging rights until next season.
The Oceanside Pirates (Division-1) and the El Camino Wildcats (Division-2) next games have yet to be determined with the playoff seeds to be decided today.