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Late turnover costs Mariners in bid to advance in Division IV playoffs Phillip Brents | Fri, Nov 23 2012 01:37 PM

For the second consecutive season, it appeared as if the Mar Vista Mariners would ride an upset victory to the San Diego Section semifinals. Instead, the Mariners wound up with a giant heartache after dropping a 23-21 Division IV quarterfinal contest last Friday at Valley Center High School.

MVHS head coach Brian Hay will tell anyone it wasn’t supposed to end this way.

The fifth-seeded Mariners, leading 21-20 with time running down in the fourth quarter, appeared ready to put the game out of reach of the fourth-seeded Jaguars when they moved the ball to the five-yard line. But quarterback Landon Clark fumbled the ball as he was entering the end zone and the loose ball was recovered by Valley Center to end the scoring threat.

The Jaguars then used 10 plays to drive down the field for Michael McInerny’s game-winning 31-yard field goal with 1:54 left in the game.

The loss was especially frustrating for three-time Metro-South Bay League champion Mar Vista, which had rallied from a 20-6 deficit to take a one-point lead in the game.

The Mariners, braced by 473 yards in rushing offense, scored two second-half touchdowns, both on fourth down plays, to go ahead on the scoreboard.
Bennie Smith, Landon O’Connell and Clark each scored TDs for the visitors. Smith rushed eight times for 122 yards, including one 85-yard breakaway run, while O’Connell gained 117 yards on 11 carries, including one 71-yard run. Clark put Mar Vista up, 21-20, on a 42-yard run with 10:06 to play in the fourth quarter.

Jimmie Hill rushed for 91 yards while Kenny Nieves tacked on 71 rushing yards. Clark completed one of two passing attempts for 10 yards and also scored on a two-point conversion.

Ryan Kleiman paced defending division champion Valley Center (7-4) with 120 passing yards.

The Jaguars advance to play top-seeded St. Augustine (10-1) in Friday’s semifinals after the Saints pummeled eighth-seeded Del Norte, 42-13, in quarterfinal action. Game time is 7 p.m. at Mesa College.

Oceanside 50, Hilltop 0
The Lancers (6-6) bowed out of the Division II playoffs following a blow-out loss at top-seeded Oceanside (10-1). William Gulley scored four rushing touchdowns for the Pirates, the top-ranked team in the section.

Oceanside will host fifth-seeded Valhalla (9-3) in Friday’s semifinals after the Norsemen recorded a 34-33 upset win at fourth-seeded La Costa Canyon (7-4).

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