Eastlake coach John McFadden knew his team was physically tough. He also found out it was just as mentally tough in Friday’s 2010 season opener.
How’s this for dramatics?
Marcelo Urrutia booted a 41-yard field goal with nine seconds left to lift the defending San Diego Section Division I champion Titans to a 24-21 non-league victory over the visiting Moorpark Musketeers.
“It’s amazing to see what these guys put them through but they came back to win the game,” McFadden said. “Our kids have tremendous resolve and determination.”
The Titans led 21-7 at halftime as Jude Isbell returned an intercepted pass 63 yards for a touchdown, and quarterback Jordan Hines rushed 10 yards for a score and later threw a short TD pass to Chris Fletcher.
Then the roof almost caved in.
Moorpark, which boasted a 12-2 record last year in finishing runner-up in their section’s championship game, scored two unanswered touchdowns in the second half to tie the game at 21-21.
Eastlake twice missed red zone scoring opportunities in the second half — both on fumbles — to keep the visitors within striking distance.
The last offensive hiccup almost proved costly.
The Titans drove seven minutes only to fumble at the Musketeer 20-yard line with 1:08 left in the fourth quarter in an effort to snap a 21-21 deadlock. However, the Titan defense came up huge, forcing a punt with 17 seconds to play. A 24-yard pass play from Hines to Zach Bannon placed the ball on the Moorpark 24 yard-line with nine seconds left.
A timeout by Eastlake brought Urrutia on the field for the game-winning field goal.
“When the coach told me to kick the ball, I was nervous,” Urrutia said. “When I went out there, a lot of things were going through my mind. But when it came time to kick the ball, I just focused on what I had been doing all year.”
The Titans, led defensively by Isbell’s 12 tackles, collected four sacks, two interceptions and one fumble recovery. Clark Moses had nine tackles while Ezekiel Ganzon made eight stops.
“We have a lot of determination and heart on this team,” said Hines, who completed six of 11 passing attempts for 121 yards. “There’s no quit on this team.”
“It took our leaders to take us back into this game,” Urrutia said. “Leaders are players who play even when the chips are down.”
Isbell carried the ball 13 times for 125 yards while Tavarus Green rushed five times for 49 yards, Fletcher gained 38 yards also on five carries and Bannon rushed six times for 30 yards.
As a team, the Titans rushed 51 times for 254 yards.
The teams tied, 21-21, in Ventura County last year.
Eastlake was one of eight South County teams to post a victory in their 2010 season openers -- an impressive number.
South County prep scoreboard
Friday, Sept. 3
Eastlake 24, Moorpark 21
Montgomery 45, El Cajon Valley 20
Hilltop 33, University City 10
Castle Park 28, Kearny 14
Mar Vista 32, Christian 20
Southwest 25, Hamilton (Anza) 18
Calvary Christian Academy 48, Crean Lutheran 0
Ocean View Christian Academy 10, St. Joseph 6
Granite Hills 38, San Ysidro 13
La Serna (Whittier) 28, Bonita Vista 7
La Costa Canyon 40, Chula Vista 0
Santa Fe Christian 38, Mater Dei 7
San Juan Hills 49, Sweetwater 14
Elsinore 28, Otay Ranch 16
South County prep football log
San Diego Section
SD Sportswriters/Sportscasters Poll
(Through Sept. 6)
1. Vista 1-0
2. Helix 1-0
3. Eastlake 1-0
4. La Costa Canyon 1-0
5. Steele Canyon 1-0
6. Oceanside 0-1
7. Torrey Pines 1-0
8. Cathedral Catholic 0-1
9. Valley Center 1-0
10. Valhalla 1-0
Others: Ramona, Mira Mesa, Escondido, Rancho Bernardo, Lincoln, Point Loma, Carlsbad, Santa Fe Christian, Francis Parker, Madison, Grossmont
Top 10: 1. Cathedral Catholic, 2. Oceanside, 3. Vista, 4. Helix, 5. Eastlake, 6. La Costa Canyon, 7. Torrey Pines, 8. Mira Mesa, 9. Valley Center, 10. Mission Bay
Others: St. Augustine, Ramona, Steele Canyon, Point Loma, Escondido, Rancho Bernardo, Santa Fe Christian, Chula Vista, Valhalla, Mt. Miguel, El Camino, Mission Hills, Francis Parker, Christian, El Capitan, Madison
Prep Football Schedule
Friday, Sept. 10
(All games 7 p.m. unless noted)
San Ysidro at Hoover, 4 p.m.
Eastlake at Lincoln, 6:30 p.m.
Hilltop at San Diego, 6:30 p.m.
Chula Vista at Sweetwater
Castle Park at Mater Dei Catholic
Bonita Vista at Steele Canyon
Olympian at Granite Hills
Otay Ranch at Serra
Southwest at Mountain Empire