An intercepted pass, one lost fumble and two blocked punts added up to disaster for the Eastlake Titans, who saw their four-week reign atop the San Diego Section prep football rankings end last Friday with a rather shocking 26-7 non-league setback to the visiting Cathedral Catholic Dons.
“We kind of shot ourselves in the foot with our special teams play,” admitted EHS head coach John McFadden. “We had 17 first downs to their seven and had almost 300 yards in offense (295) while they had 200. The bottom line is that you have to play good against good teams. It’s one of those things. It’s something the team can use to learn from. We had a very solid game plan but just didn’t execute.”
The loss dropped the Titans’ record to 4-1 while elevating the Dons’ mark to the same.
Cathedral entered the high profile contest ranked seventh in the section, and the four-time defending Division III champions now enter this week ranked fifth in the San Diego Sportswriters Association’s weekly poll.
Eastlake dropped to fourth behind new No. 1 Helix (3-1), No. 2 Oceanside (3-1) and No. 3 Poway (4-0-1). It’s evident that the Titans still garner respect throughout the section despite the loss to the Dons, who suffered a 48-14 non-league setback at Helix on Sept. 16.
Eastlake defeated Helix, 21-14, to kick off the season.
The Titans will attempt to get back in the victory column this Friday against seventh-ranked St. Augustine (4-0), one of 13 undefeated teams left in the section at this stage of the season. The Saints are coming off a 34-0 non-league win against La Jolla and are led by quarterback Joe Kennedy (769 passing yards, 13 touchdowns) and running back Aaron Anderson (463 rushing yards).
Cathedral capitalized on numerous Eastlake miscues to build a 26-0 lead, leaving Titan fans dazed and dumbfounded.
J.J. Stavola scored on a one-yard run in the second quarter for the first touchdown of the game to give the Dons a 7-0 lead. The first half ended that way after the hosts fumbled on the one-yard line.
Cathedral blocked a punt through the end zone for a safety and blocked another punt to set up a four-yard touchdown run by Chris Moliga as the visitors took a 16-0 lead in the third quarter.
A 43-yard pass from Dons QB Garrett Bogart to Brian Heinz stretched the Cathedral lead to 23-0 in the fourth quarter and Christian Fanning tacked on a 27-yard field goal to extend the lead even further.
The only question remaining was whether the Dons defense — led by Russell Reeder and Toshaun Poumele’s 14 tackles — could shut out the Titans’ prolific offense. Cathedral could not, as Isiah Olave scored on a five-yard run with 4:36 left in the game.
Eastlake rolled up 223 rushing yards in the game, with eight players recording carries. Jude Isbell, the San Diego Hall of Champions’ prep star for September, rushed 15 times for 91 yards while Tavarus Green had six carries for 43 yards.
Josh Palet completed seven of 16 passing attempts for 60 yards while Klugh Arnett had one completion for 12 yards.
Olave (four carries, 23 yards) also had one catch for 18 yards and one interception on defense. Green had one punt return for 23 yards.
The Titans registered three sacks — one each by Blake Wilson, Nasser Ali and Eddy Campain. Keifer Graham led EHS with 10 tackles, including eight solo stops. Isbell had seven tackles.
The Dons mustered just 91 rushing yards in comparison. Bogart passed for 113 yards on just four completions, also hitting Stavola on a 58-yard hook-up.
Reeder had one pick while Lucas Zender recovered a fumble. Jake Terzoli and Chris Clifford each had punt blocks.
Isbell continues to lead the defending Metro-Mesa champions with 512 rushing yards while Palet has passed for 650 yards.
Cathedral and St. Augustine both rank at the top of the section’s Division III enrollment division and it will be interesting to gauge the outcome of Friday’s Saints-Titans match-up.
Poway has now slipped ahead of Eastlake in the Division I rankings.
Besides Eastlake, three other previously undefeated teams suffered their first losses last week. El Camino defeated Westview, 13-10, by scoring a touchdown on the final play of the game, while Mar Vista (32-21 to visiting Grossmont) and Patrick Henry (45-21 to host West Hills) also tasted the sting of defeat.
Prep football rankings
San Diego Sportswriters Assn. Poll
1. Helix (3-1), 2. Oceanside (3-1), 3. Poway (4-0-1), 4. Eastlake (4-1), 5. Cathedral Catholic (4-1), 6. Mt. Miguel (4-0), 7. St. Augustine (4-0), 8. San Pasqual (4-0-1), 9. Mira Mesa (3-1), 10. Madison (5-0), 11. Santana (5-0), 12. Westview (4-1), 13. Valley Center (4-1), 14. (tie) La Costa Canyon (3-2), Steele Canyon (3-2), Valhalla (4-1), 17. (tie) El Camino (2-2), Bishop’s (4-0)
San Diego Section unbeatens: Santana (5-0), San Pasqual (4-0-1), Poway (4-0-1), Bishop’s (4-0), La Jolla Country Day (4-0), St. Augustine (4-0), Mt. Miguel (4-0), Mountain Empire (4-0), Madison (4-0), Kuyper Prep (4-0), Grossmont (3-0-1), Maranatha Christian (3-0), San Diego Jewish Academy (1-0)