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CIF - San Diego Section Football Championships
Mission Hills Defeats Oceanside in Open Division 36-14
Thursday, December 12th, 2013
Issue 50, Volume 17.
OPEN DIVISION: The Mission Hills Grizzlies from San Marcos defeated perennial powerhouse Oceanside Pirates 36-14.
The Grizzlies received the top-seed in San Diego’s Section’s inaugural year for the Open Division. This was a match-up between Avocado East League and the Avocado West League Champions; Mission Hills had won their previous meeting on September 27 (30-6). The Pirates were looking to avenge the loss and had put down Torrey Pines (35-0) and Eastlake (33-30) to earn their finals spot.
The Grizzlies had defeated Steele Canyon (56-35) and Helix (24-21) to advance to the finals.
The Pirates had relied all season on the passing of QB Matt Romero (over 2100 yards, 26 TDs) and the shifty running abilities of Thai Cottrell (775 yards, 12 TDs). The Grizzlies had three-year starter QB Connor Wynn and Oregon State-commit running back Ricky Liuchan. Wynn’s older brother, Jordan, had been an Oceanside quarterback before attending Utah; he is now the QB coach at University of Hawaii. Mission Hills lost to Eastlake in last year’s Division 1 championship game.
The Grizzlies opened with a 14-yard pass play to fullback Kyle Bauer and the first of three consecutive first downs; but the Pirate defense slowed the Grizzlies down, forcing kicker Esteban Senteno to kick a 36-yd field goal for the quarter’s only score.
The lead changed hands three times in the second quarter. Defensive end Isaac Dixon picked off a swing pass for a 20-yd touchdown to give Oceanside a 7-3 lead. Connor Wynn’s one-yard QB sneak capped off a Mission Hills drive and gave them the lead 10-7. Oceanside drove from their own 21 in three minutes, retaking the lead 14-10 on Josh Bernard’s one-yard dive.
The third quarter belonged to Mission Hills as they scored seventeen unanswered points in the last six minutes. Wide receiver Scott Higgins pulled in a highlight reel one-handed catch in the right coffin corner of the end zone. Linebacker Ricky Liuchan intercepted Oceanside’s Matt Romero and returned it cross-field for a 35-yard score. Senteno hit his second field goal attempt, a 22-yd score. The score was 27-14 at the end of three quarters.
A ball snapped over the Pirates’ punter’s head rolled out of the back of the end zone for a safety and another two points. Wynn’s six-yard pass to Fred Warner sealed the victory and the championship for Mission Hills.
Mission Hills will face Bakersfield (11-2, CIF Central Section Champion) in the Regional Semifinals of the 2013 Football State Championships. The winner will play for the State Championship against Northern California's best: either Serra (San Mateo) or Del Oro (Loomis) on December 21 at the home Depot Center in Carson.
DIVISION ONE: The San Pasqual Golden Eagles were finally downed in triple overtime by the Cathedral Catholic Dons, 37-31.
This was an evenly-matched heavyweight boxing match with each opponent matching the other punch for punch. Cathedral Catholic scored first on a 38-yd field goal by Tim Semenza. San Pasqual’s kicker Jackson Lively answered with a 32-yd field goal.
The teams traded punts throughout the second quarter. With three minutes left in the half, Dons’ QB Clayton Dale completed a 14-yd TD pass to Daniel Pham for the lead. Jack Hofstetter’s interception and 70 yard return tied up the game 10-10.
San Pasqual drove 80 yards, culminating in a six-yard rushing TD by Grant Huffman for the only score in the third quarter.
With their backs against the goal line, the Dons drove from their seven, using up half the remaining time, and tied up the game at 17-17 on a four-yard rush by Chris Moliga.
In the first overtime period, San Pasqual’s Spencer Csonka hit Tajuan Thomas for a seven-yard score. Cathedral catholic responded with a one-yard score by Moliga to tie the game again at 24.
In the second overtime period, Dale connected with Joshua Gizzi on a five-yard TD pass to give Cathedral Catholic a 31-24 lead. The San Pasqual offensive line responded opening a hole for Peter Ricardez’ two-yard rushing TD to force a third overtime.
San Pasqual had the ball first, but Jack Onstott intercepted the pass at the six and returned it 94 yards for the score, the win, and the division title.
DIVISION TWO: The St. Augustine Saints (11-2) totally dominated the Mission Bay Buccaneers, 49-0 to win the Division Championship.
Quarterback Joe Hudson spread the wealth with touchdown passes to Frank Buncom IV (33 yds), Tyler Herburger (31 yds), and Ryan Harris (17 yds). Hudson also rushed for a 31-yd score.
Elijah Preston scored from fifty yards out on a run and Francoise Sims II added another score from two yards out.
The defensive highlight was Herburger’s 99-yd interception return.
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