Fri, Nov 16 2012 03:23 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
Dustin Downs scored three touchdowns, including the deciding score in overtime, as the ninth-seeded Hilltop Lancers pulled off a 35-28 upset win at eighth-seeded Orange Glen in a first-round San Diego Section Division II playoff game last Friday.
The Lancers (6-5) advance to play at top-seeded Oceanside (9-1) on Friday. Kick-off is 7 p.m.
“Once again, it took the team not giving up,” Hilltop coach Cody Roelof said. “They battled back from being down 21-7 at the half to win the game. There is no quit in these young men.”
The playoff win was the first for the Lancers since 1997 when Hilltop lost to Castle Park, 6-0, in the Division II semifinals.
That game, which marked the farthest the Lancers have ever advanced in the CIF playoffs in school history, is now referred to as the Mud Bowl because of the atrocious playing conditions at Sweetwater High School.
The victorious Trojans survived seven turnovers in the wet, sloppy conditions. Castle Park’s David Bobadilla preserved the win on two late interceptions to kill Lancer drives.
Justin Moreno scored the only points of that game when he returned a blocked field goal 80 yards for a score.
Hilltop advanced to the memorable 1997 semifinal game after defeating both the Grossmont South League champion (Monte Vista) and Grossmont North League champion (West Hills) in successive weeks.
Last Friday’s win opened a new chapter in school history.
In fact, the Lancers looked to win the game in regulation until the host Patriots rallied on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Austin Early to Abdel Elbakkali with less than one minute to play to extend the game into overtime.
Downs, already with two overtime touchdowns to his credit this season, scored on a bullish three-yard run to put Hilltop up 35-28.
Orange Glen’s ensuing OT possession ended with a fumble.
While most teams may go decades without being involved in an overtime contest, the game was the third OT thriller for the Lancers this season.
Hilltop defeated Bonita Vista, 35-28, on Oct. 12 and then dropped a bittersweet 20-19 OT verdict to Mar Vista in this year’s Metro-South Bay League championship game on Oct. 26.
The Lancers overcame a two-touchdown halftime deficit to prevail against the Patriots.
HHS quarterback Daniel Sanchez completed eight of 10 passes for 74 yards and one touchdown — seven yards to Sergio Martinez — while also scoring on a one-yard keeper.
Downs rushed for 129 yards on 18 carries and scored on runs of six, eight and three yards.
Montel Campbell collected 129 yards on 19 carries as the Lancers rolled up an impressive 292 rushing yards in the contest.
Sergio Vidrio had three catches for 36 yards and James Lett caught two passes for 24 yards.
For the season, Downs has rushed for 704 yards and scored a team-best 10 touchdowns; Campbell has rushed for 596 yards and scored seven TDs.
Sanchez has passed for 1,029 yards and 11 touchdowns and rushed for 117 yards and five TDs.
Vidrio leads the Lancers with 13 catches for 255 yards.
Hilltop may be facing the best team in the section this Friday. The Pirates have out-scored their opponents 398-93 and have won eight games in a row — the last two by shutouts (56-0 against La Costa Canyon and 34-0 against El Camino).
Oceanside has allowed six points or less in six games this season, including four shutouts.
Israel “Tofi” Paopao has thrown for 2,074 yard with 19 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Mikah Holder has caught 34 passes for 700 yards and 10 receiving TDs while Thai Cottrell has 30 catches for 555 yards.
Cottrell (64 carries, 601 yards) leads the team with 17 touchdowns, including nine rushing scores and seven receiving scores. He’s been described as the “spark” of the team.
Helix ended Oceanside’s run of seven consecutive CIF titles last year. The Pirates, however, appear primed to start another streak.
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