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CIF football playoffs: Can Titans plunder Pirates’ treasure chest? Phillip Brents | Fri, Nov 22 2013 03:24 PM

At the midpoint of the season, many veteran observers had pegged the youthful Eastlake Titans as a team set to reach its prime in one or possibly even more two seasons. That may be indeed the case and, if that holds true, it will be a scary prospect considering how well the underclassmen heavy 2013 Metro-Mesa League champions have bulldozed opponents this season.

The second-seeded Titans carry a 10-1 record (9-0 against San Diego Section competition) into Friday’s Open Division semifinals against the third-seeded Oceanside Pirates (9-2).

The Pirates, despite being seeded below Eastlake in this year’s playoff bracket, are a team capable of winning any game at any time.

In short, the Titans will see if the future is now.

“We’re fired up for (them),” EHS junior Isaiah Strayhorn said following last Friday’s 41-7 quarterfinal round victory against visiting Poway. “It will probably be the best game that Eastlake has had in a while. We’ll have a good week of practice. Hopefully, we’ll be able to come out on top.”

The team that does win Friday’s semifinal contest advances to the Open Division championship game Dec. 2 at Qualcomm Stadium.

Top-seeded Mission Hills (10-1) hosts fourth-seeded Helix (9-2) in the division’s other semifinal match-up.

It would seem by the large margins of victory in last week’s quarterfinals that any championship pairing among the four remaining teams in the division is possible.

Oceanside shut out sixth-seeded Torrey Pines, 35-0, while Mission Hills put away eighth-seeded Steele Canyon, 56-35, and Helix topped fifth-seeded La Costa Canyon 41-7.

That’s an average margin of victory by the division’s four behemoth teams of 31 points.

The two semifinal pairing do not expect to be routs.

The Pirates’ two setbacks this season are to Gardena Serra (50-39 on Sept, 6) and Mission Hills (30-6 on Sept. 27). Oceanside enters Friday’s 7 p.m. contest at Eastlake riding the momentum of six consecutive victories.

The Titans counter with a 10-game winning streak and a defense that has produced four shutouts this season.

Strayhorn scored two touchdowns in last Friday’s game against seventh-seeded Poway, including a 71-yard burst early in the third quarter to make the score 26-0.

Eastlake led 19-0 at halftime on the strength of rushing scores by sophomore Dean Klaser (two yards), sophomore Traylon Reed (35 yards) and Strayhorn (six yards).

After Poway bit into the hosts’ lead on a two-yard run by Lance Mudd with 6:28 left in the third quarter, Eastlake closed out the contest with TDs by Reed (31 yards) and senior Isiah Olave (three yards) and a two-point safety.

Most of the third quarter was played in a driving rainstorm.

The hosts piled up 527 rushing yards, led by 176 yards by Reed on 12 carries and 158 yards by Strayhorn on seven attempts. Eastlake’s defense collected four sacks and forced three fumbles.

Strayhorn keyed the Titans’ defensive effort with a team-high 14 tackles while Keifer Graham had 13 stops, including a team best 12 solo tackles.

Meanwhile, the usual suspects keyed the Pirates’ quarterfinal win. Jace Whittaker scored on a three-yard touchdown run, a 60-yard fumble return and a 57-yard punt return. Thai Cottrell returned the second-half kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown while quarterback Matthew Romero tossed a 13-yard scoring pass to Mikah Holder.

Oceanside has proven it can score a variety of ways and Eastlake will have to be mindful of that on defense while maximizing its offensive opportunities.

“Football is a team effort,” EHS coach John McFadden told his team after last week’s win over Poway. “You have to pick up your teammates when something goes wrong. They have a long bus ride down here. We’re as good as any team around.”

Strayhorn termed his team’s victory against Poway a “great win.”

“Poway had a lot of hype but we came and played as a team,” Strayhorn noted. “When we play as a team, we’re unstoppable.”

Beating two North County teams in back-to-back playoff games certainly will help the Titans in the respect department.


Olympian Eagles, Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders triumph in openers

The Olympian Eagles secured a berth in Thursday’s San Diego Section Division I quarterfinals after defeating the Mira Mesa Marauders, 35-18, in last Friday’s opening round.

The sixth-seeded Eagles (8-3) advanced to meet the third-seeded Cathedral Catholic Dons (8-2), with the winner advancing to Wednesday’s division semifinals.

For the fifth consecutive year, Olympian opened the section playoffs with a victory.

Last season, the Eagles defeated Mt. Carmel, 40-7, en route to a berth in the Division III semifinals. Prior to that, Olympian won its opening two playoff games in 2011 en route to a championship game appearance against Cathedral Catholic.

The Eagles defeated Brawley, 40-21, in the 2010 Division IV quarterfinals en route to a semifinal berth against Madison. In 2009, Olympian hiked its record to 11-0 with a history-making 45-7 win over Santana.

The Eagles, coming off a runner-up finish in Metro-Mesa League play with a 3-1 showing, wasted little time in ransacking the 11th-seeded Marauders (5-6). Manny Rodriguez scored on a 12-yard run and then returned an intercepted pass 36 yards for a touchdown to stake the hosts to a quick 14-0 first quarter lead.

Mira Mesa came back with two touchdowns of its own — a 20-yard run by Dondre Johnson in the second quarter and a 29-yard scoring pass from Austin Flores to Steffon McKnight in the third quarter — to narrow the score to 14-12.

But the Eagles answered the challenge with 21 second-half points to secure the post-season win.

Gary Cannon passed 20 yards to Greg Goff to counter the Marauders’ second-half opening strike and Rodriguez scored his third touchdown of the game on a 35-yard run later in the third quarter to extend the hosts’ lead to 28-12.

The visitors refused to fold as Chamberlin Liddell-Patacsil answered with a three-yard touchdown run.
But Olympian once again had an answer as Rey Osuna scored on a seven-yard run as the teams traded touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

The Eagles’ running game provided dividends with 282 rushing yards on 45 attempts and three touchdowns.

Rodriguez rushed 13 times for 113 yards while Osuna collected 111 yards on 17 carries.

The Eagles amassed 309 yards in total offense in the game. Angel Garcia nailed all five of his extra-point kicks in the win.

Crusaders cruise
Iman Chatman-Dixon had four receptions for 192 yards and two touchdowns in Mater Dei Catholic’s 55-7 first-round Division IV victory against visiting El Cajon Valley.

The Crusaders (4-7) advance to meet fourth-seeded La Jolla (4-6) in Friday’s quarterfinals. El Cajon Valley ended its season 2-9.

Mater Dei Catholic racked up a 42-0 halftime lead. Marco Morales passed for three touchdowns in the game while also scoring one rushing touchdown.

Besides hitting Chatman-Dixon on scoring plays of 92 and 38 yards, Morales also threw a 68-yard touchdown pass to Evan Davis.

Morales scored on a seven-yard run in the second quarter. Luis Victoria opened the game with a 22-yard touchdown run and C.J. Verdell scored on a one-yard carry just before halftime.

Hunter Allen (10 yards) and Jesus Lopez (61 yards) each scored on second-half touchdown runs for the Crusaders.

The Braves got on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter courtesy of a 17-yard scoring run by Alan Michael Harris.

It’s a wrap

In other first-round playoff games last Friday:

•Ricky Alvarez (two yards) and Chris Boguille (one yard) gave visiting Bonita Vista an early 14-0 lead but eighth-seeded Granite Hills responded with the final 28 points of the game to prevail, 28-14, in a Division III contest. Trevor Kemp and Matt Macario led the ninth-seeded Barons (4-7) with nine tackles apiece while Jonathan Schultz recovered a fumble and Christian Melhorn had one interception. The victorious Eagles (6-5) had three sacks. Michael Ledesma led Granite Hills with 142 receiving yards and two touchdowns — one each from quarterbacks Chris Meredith and Seth Collins.

•Stanley Schwing (13 carries, 100 yards) gave host Montgomery, seeded sixth, an early 7-0 lead but Southwest El Centro, seeded 11th, came back to score the game’s final 10 points to edge the Aztecs (4-7) in a Division IV game. The Eagles (4-7) tied the score on a two-yard touchdown in the second quarter and booted a game-winning field goal in the fourth quarter. Southwest’s Armando Olague then secured the victory for the visitors with a late interception.

•San Diego Section record-setting quarterback Anthony Lawrence threw five touchdowns passes in fifth-seeded Grossmont’s 35-6 Division I victory against 12th-seeded Otay Ranch (3-8). Lawrence passed for 359 yards in the win. J.T. Barnes (nine catches, 149 yards) had two TD receptions for the Foothillers (9-2).

#6 Hoover (8-3)   at #3 Hilltop (9-1)
Friday, Nov. 22

Kick-off 7 p.m.
The Lancers are hosting as the reigning Metro-South Bay League champion while the Cardinals finished runner-up to Serra in City League play. Hoover is coming off a lopsided 61-0 victory against 11th-seeded Calexico last Friday while Hilltop drew a bye.

The Lancers are riding a four-game winning streak. Drake Madarang is the team’s clutch go-to ball-carrier with 1,127 yards and nine touchdowns. Quarterback Daniel Sanchez has rushed for eight touchdowns and thrown for 706 yards and three scores. Defensively, Hilltop is led by David Vasquez with 86 tackles, 5.5 sacks, two interceptions and two caused fumbles. The Lancers have racked up 21 sacks this season — 4.5 by Diego Urranga and 3.5 each by Jared Akers and Adrian Rios.

Hoover is led offensively by Damonte Holiday with 671 rushing yards, 542 receiving yards and 20 total touchdowns. Holiday (1,637 all-purpose yards this season) scored five touchdowns in the win over Calexico (two receiving, two interception returns and one rushing) while teammate Dominique Whitfield scored twice (one receiving and one punt return). Holiday and Whitfield each have four picks.

“They are a very good football team,” Hilltop coach Cody Roelof assessed of the Cardinals. “Their defense is very tough and has not let up a lot of points this year. Their offense has the ability to score on any play. It is going to be a very tough game.”

The winner plays either No. 2 Christian (9-1) or No. 7 Morse (5-6) in the semifinals.

#10 Clairemont (5-6) at #2 Sweetwater (6-4)
Friday, Nov. 22
Kickoff 7 p.m.

The host Red Devils have the only winning record in the division and thus a lot to prove. Sweetwater enters Friday’s game with a five-game winning streak and a lot of momentum after recording its first league title in 25 years after going 3-0 in the Metro-Pacific League. The Chiefs, however, have generated some momentum of their own after recording a 28-14 upset win at seventh-seeded La Jolla Country Day in last Friday’s opening round.

Sweetwater is undefeated in its three games thus far on its new artificial surface field. Leaders in the team’s double wing-oriented attack include Antonio Garcia (1,026 rushing yards, 11 touchdowns), Angel Reyes (892 rushing yards, seven touchdowns), Raven Middleton (545 rushing yards, three touchdowns) and James Zarate (328 rushing yards, five touchdowns). Garcia has the only two touchdown catches this year fromquarterback Christian Amon. The Devils are averaging 358.2 rushing yards per game.

The SuHi defense has 18 sacks this season — five by Jose Lopez and three each by Jesus Chavez, Middleton and Reyes. Jaylon Davis has three interceptions and one fumble recovery.

Josh Urbonas led Clairemont (third place in the City Central League) with two rushing touchdowns and 160 yards on 25 carries in last Friday’s playoff win while teammates Alex Beaubien and R.J. McCoy each chipped in with one rushing touchdown. As a team, the Chiefs rushed for 291 yards on 63 plays. Beaubien has rushed for a team-leading 608 yards in 11 games with six touchdowns — a figure matched by teammate Alessandro Baldassarre (536 rushing yards).
The Clairemont defense held the Torreys (5-6) to 109 rushing yards and 135 passing yards.

The winner of Friday’s game advances to meet either third-seeded Central Union (5-5) or 11th-seeded Southwest El Centro (4-7) in the semifinals.



San Diego Section
2013 Football Playoffs

Open Division
Friday, Nov. 15

(1) Mission Hills 56, (8) Steele Canyon 35
(4) Helix 41, (5) La Costa Canyon 7
(3) Oceanside 35, (6) Torrey Pines 0
(2) Eastlake 41, (7) Poway 7

Friday, Nov. 22

(4) Helix (9-2) at (1) Mission Hills (10-1), 7 p.m.
(3) Oceanside (9-2) at (2) Eastlake (10-1), 7 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 2

Helix-Mission Hills winner vs. Oceanside-Eastlake winner at Qualcomm Stadium, 5 p.m.

Division I
First round

Friday, Nov. 15
(5) Grossmont 35, (12) Otay Ranch 6
(8) El Camino 14, (9) Point Loma 13
(6) Olympian 35, (11) Mira Mesa 18
(7) Mt. Carmel 26, (10) Westview 14

Thursday, Nov. 21

(8) El Camino (5-6) at (1) San Pasqual (9-1), 7 p.m.
(5) Grossmont (9-2) at (4) Carlsbad (8-2), 7 p.m.
(6) Olympian (8-3) at (1) Cathedral Catholic (8-2), 7 p.m.
(7) Mt. Carmel (7-4) at (2) Ramona (9-1), 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 27

El Camino-San Pasqual winner vs. Grossmont-Carlsbad winner, 7 p.m.
Olympian-Cathedral Catholic winner vs. Mt. Carmel-Ramona winner, 7 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 2

Teams TBA at Qualcomm Stadium, 2 p.m.

Division II
First round
Friday, Nov. 15

(8) Mission Bay 41, (9) Brawley 16
(5) Rancho Buena Vista 54, (12) Serra 21
(6) El Capitan 45, (11) Del Norte 21
(7) West Hills 31, (10) Scripps Ranch 17

Thursday, Nov. 21

(8) Mission Bay (10-1) at (1) Madison (9-1), 7 p.m.
(5) Rancho Buena Vista (8-3) at (4) Mt. Miguel (8-2), 7 p.m.
(6) El Capitan (10-1) at (3) Imperial (10-0), 7 p.m.
(7) West Hills (8-3) vs. (2) St. Augustine (8-2) at San Diego Mesa College

Wednesday, Nov. 27

Mission Bay-Madison winner vs. Rancho Buena Vista-Mt. Miguel winner, 7 p.m.
El Capitan-Imperial winner vs. West Hills-St. Augustine winner, 7 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 2

Teams TBA at Qualcomm Stadium, 11 a.m.

Division III
Frist round
Friday, Nov. 15

(8) Granite Hills 28 (9) Bonita Vista 14
(5) San Marcos 42, (12) Fallbrook 14
(6) Hoover 61, (11) Calexico 0
(7) Morse 56, (10) Bishop’s 17

Friday, Nov. 22

(8) Granite Hills (6-5) at (1) Francis Parker (10-0), 7 p.m.
(5) San Marcos (7-4) at (4) Santa Fe Christian (6-4), TBA
(6) Hoover (8-3) at (3) Hilltop (9-1), 7 p.m.
(7) Morse (5-6) vs. Christian (9-1) at Granite Hills High School

Friday, Nov. 29

Granite Hills-Francis Parker winner vs. San Marcos-Santa Fe Christian winner, 7 p.m.
Hoover-Hilltop winner vs. Morse-Christian winner, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 7

Teams TBA at San Diego Mesa College, 7 p.m.

Division IV

First round
Friday, Nov. 15

(8) University City 20, (9) Castle Park 0
(5) Mater Dei Catholic 55, (12) El Cajon Valley 7
(11) Southwest El Centro 10, (6) Montgomery 7
(10) Clairemont 28, (7) La Jolla County Day 14

Friday, Nov. 22

(8) University City (4-6) at (1) Monte Vista (5-5), 7 p.m.
(5) Mater Dei Catholic (4-7) at (4) La Jolla (4-6), 7 p.m.
(11) Southwest El Centro (4-7) at (3) Central Union (5-5), 7 p.m.
(10) Clairemont (4-6) at (2) Sweetwater (6-4), 7 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 29

University City-Monte Vista winner vs. Mater Dei Catholic-La Jolla winner, 7 p.m.
Southwest El Centro-Central Union winner vs. Clairemont-Sweetwater winner, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 7

Teams TBA at San Diego Mesa College, 3:30 p.m.

Division V
Friday, Nov. 15

(1) Crawford 49, (8) Chula Vista Calvary Christian Academy 12
(4) Palo Verde Valley 19 (5) Army-Navy Academy 14
(3) Mountain Empire 16, (6) Escondido Charter 7
(2) Holtville 42, (7) Vincent Memorial 6

Friday, Nov. 22

(4) Palo Verde Valley (5-6) at (1) Crawford (10-0), 7 p.m.
(3) Mountain Empire (7-4) at (2) Holtville (9-2), 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 30

Palo Verde Valley-Crawford winner vs. Mountain Empire-Holtville winner at San Diego Mesa College, 7 p.m.

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