End to a painful season finally comes for Eastlake Titans

Eastlake players console one another after last Friday’s playoff loss. Photo by Phillip Brents

Eastlake High School’s football players walked off the field for the last time this season last Friday.

It was a solemn occasion for the team’s seniors after bowing out of the San Diego Section playoffs with a 10-0 opening round loss to the visiting Oceanside Pirates.

The eighth-seeded Titans were hoping for something better. Instead they finished the season with a 5-6 record and a lot of question marks.

Ninth-seeded Oceanside gets to play another week. The Pirates (7-4) will test top-seeded Steele Canyon (9-1) this Friday at 7 p.m. in East County.

Considering what Eastlake went through this season, just reaching last Friday’s playoff round had to be fulfilling.

The Titans started the season 1-5 while playing one of the San Diego Section’s most challenging schedules that included two of the section’s four Open Division teams and the top-ranked Division I team.

During that stretch, Eastlake also lost head coach John McFadden, who was placed on administrative leave due to a personnel-related issue.

McFadden’s status with the team — and the school — remains in limbo after nearly two months.

Offensive coordinator Paco Silva took over as the team’s interim head coach. Silva had previously served as head coach at Southwest High School following a highly successful 13-year run as an assistant coach at Otay Ranch High School.

Silva was able to lead the Titans to a 4-1 record in the team’s final five regular season games, including an undefeated 4-0 showing in Metro-Mesa League play to claim the team’s second consecutive league championship.

While Eastlake roared to a thundering finish to secure a playoff berth, it wasn’t enough to guide the Titans past their first-round opponent despite playing on their home turf.

Long after most of the fans had cleared the stands, a few Titans were still shedding tears on the sideline.

It was a painful end to what in many respects was a very painful season.

When it came time for the post-game debriefing with players, Silva handled the disappointing situation very diplomatically.

“We win as a team and we lose as a team,” he said. “The hardest part is putting away your helmets.”

Despite the adversity, Silva said it was a pleasure to coach the team, and watch it grow, this season.

“I’m very proud to have coached this team,” he said.

John McFadden during happier times with the Eastlake football team. File photo by Phillip Brents

Big Mac
Many consider McFadden the face of the Eastlake football program; some might even consider him the heart of the program.

His sudden removal must have been unsettling to the team, players and assistant coaches alike. Besides his removal as head coach, he also was removed from his teaching position, severing the team’s on-campus lifeline.

The exact circumstances surrounding his abrupt exit continue to remain a mystery.

Despite the personal upheaval, Coach Mac remains emotionally connected to the team he obviously loves.

“I’m so proud of the effort of these wonderful football players at Eastlake,” he posted on his Facebook page following last Friday’s playoff loss. “These young men have huge hearts, many things over the past year (have) knocked them down, (but) they never let it affect them. I love you guys. So sorry it ended like this.”

McFadden’s overall record with the Titans is 131-50-4, including nine league titles and two CIF division championships.

Those numbers speak volumes for his success as a coach.

The Eastlake offense was under constant siege by the Oceanside defense during last Friday’s playoff game. Photo by Phillip Brents

Remember the Titans
As for the game, the Eastlake defense performed like the league champions they were, holding the Pirates scoreless into the third quarter when Cedric Marton kicked a 32-yard field goal.

Oceanside clung to that tenuous 3-0 lead until explosive running back Kavika Tua scored on a two-yard run in the final 1:41 of the game.

The Titan defense held Tua to 106 yards on 24 carries and 47 yards on three catches. The hosts held the visitors to just eight rushing yards and 66 total yards in the first half.

Pirate signal-caller Jakob Harris passed for 120 yards with one interception. Oceanside finished the game with 213 total offensive yards to 80 for their opponent.

The Eastlake offense proved anemic for most of the game, generating just 26 rushing yards in the first half. Junior Cole MacFarlane opened the game 1-for-11 for zero passing yards before completing a pair of passes for 38 yards late in the game.

The Titans’ best drive of the night came in the third quarter but ended with no points.

In the dying minutes of the game Oceanside’s Rich Jaime intercepted a pass in the end zone to deny another EHS scoring bid.

Dropped passes plagued the hosts in the playoff loss. Eastlake totaled negative 22 rushing yards in the fourth quarter while attempting a comeback.

It wasn’t enough.

“We had our chances,” Silva acknowledged. “We dropped some passes. But we’ll be back stronger.”

Regardless of who is coaching the team in coming seasons, the Titans have to hope their future is a more prosperous one.





  • Division I: (9) Oceanside 10, (8) Eastlake 0
  • Division II: (6) Christian 24, (11) Otay Ranch 21
  • Division III: (6) Mater Dei Catholic 33, (11) Imperial 19
  • Division V: (6) Mission Bay 56, (11) San Ysidro 0


  • Division III: (7) Brawley (8-3) at (2) Hilltop (9-1), 7 p.m.
    (6) Mater Dei Catholic (7-4) at (3) La Jolla (6-4), 7 p.m.
  • Division IV: (6) La Jolla Country Day (8-3) at (3) Montgomery (9-1), 7 p.m.
  • Division V: (7) Palo Verde Valley (6-5) at (2) Castle Park (9-1), 7 p.m.



Crusaders are lone Metro team to post first-round CIF playoff victory

The Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders, who finished in second place in the Metro-Mesa League standings with a 3-1 record, received the No. 6 playoff seed in Division III and delivered a knockout punch by taming the visiting Imperial Tigers, 33-19, in last Friday’s opening round.

Head coach John Joyner had to change his game plan, however, with quarterback Trevor Appelman out with an injury. Receiver Raymond Romero took over at the quarterback position and running backs David Jazo and Aiden Calvert stepped up to help fill the void on offense.

Romero tossed a pair of touchdown passes while Calvert and Jazo both scored on long runs.

Mater Dei Catholic opened up a 13-0 lead as Jazo broke off a 70-yard scoring run and Romero passed 28 yards to Darren Barkins.

The teams traded touchdowns to close the first half, with Imperial narrowing the score to 13-7 before Romero connected with Campbell on a three-yard touchdown pass to make the score 20-7 at halftime.

The Tigers scored the opening touchdown of the second half to trim the Crusader lead to 20-13. However, when Calvert ripped off a 58-yard touchdown run, the momentum of the game remained with the hosts.

Quinonez kicked a 30-yard field goal to increase the Mater Dei Catholic lead to 30-13.

Imperial scored the lone touchdown in the fourth quarter but Quinonez tacked on a 27-yard field goal to enable the Crusaders to post an 11-point win.

Mater Dei Catholic piled up 207 rushing yards in the victory, including 168 yards by Calvert.

Jordan Reed completed two touchdown passes for the Tigers, who finished the season 5-6.

The Crusaders (7-4) advance to play at third-seeded La Jolla (6-4), this year’s City Conference Eastern League champion. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

The winner of Friday’s game plays either second-seeded Hilltop (9-1) or seventh-seeded Brawley (8-3) in the division semifinals.

Mustangs win one, lose one, end season

The Otay Ranch Mustangs rode into last Friday’s Division II playoff game against sixth-seeded Christian at Granite Hills High School after gathering some momentum on the heels of a 20-10 rivalry game victory against visiting Olympian in the teams’ annual Battle of the O’s contest on Nov. 1.

Quarterback Paco Puentes entered last Friday’s playoff game with 1,306 passing yards and 11 touchdowns but had thrown 16 interceptions. Dylan Baca led Otay Ranch receivers with 387 yards on 21 catches with four touchdowns.

Puentes passed for 224 yards with one touchdown against the Patriots but served up three interceptions in a 24-21 loss.

Baca had four catches for 92 yards and scored on a 55-yard pass play while Carl Addy (12 carries, 52 yards) and Ernesto Perez (two carries, 10 yards) both scored on short touchdown runs.

Otay Ranch led 14-7 at the end of the first quarter and 14-13 at halftime before falling behind 21-14 by the end of the third quarter. The Mustangs tied the game, 21-21, on a five-yard scoring run by Addy.

However, the host Patriots walked off the field with the playoff win on the strength of a 24-yard field goal by freshman Hunter Providence in the final 1:32 of the game and an interception on defense by freshman Chris Acreage as time expired.

Christian (6-5) advances to play third-seeded Vista (7-3) in Friday’s quarterfinals.

Otay Ranch finished 2-2 in Metro-Mesa League play, 4-7 overall.