Mission Hills spoiled El Camino's homecoming game Friday night with a fireworks display of their own in a 35-20 victory.
The game started out with the Grizzlies dominating on both sides of the ball. The Grizzlies got on the board first off of a 26-yard Eric Torres fumble return touchdown. Numerous El Camino miscues led to Mission Hills points, including a 20-yard passing touchdown from Jack Tuttle to Ian Fryday over the middle.
After El Camino kicked a 30-yard field goal to get themselves on the board, Christian Esqueda returned the insuing kickoff 95 yards to put the Grizzlies up 21-3 at the half. The kickoff return could have been the nail in the coffin for the Wildcats, but homecoming night was ripe with cheering fans and a great halftime show.
The El Camino crowd was standing room only throughout the night and was treated to a beautiful fireworks display and other homecoming activities at halftime.
The newfound momentum extended into the third quarter as Chris Brown took a handoff 42 yards up the middle for El Camino's first touchdown. A later field goal would put the game within 8 points for El Camino.
Unfortunately for the homecoming crowd, 8 points would be the closest the Wildcats would get as their 27-yard field goal was met with yet another Mission Hills touchdown, this time in the form of a Sam Dixon run.
In fact, after a powerful 35-yard touchdown, Dixon would extend the already massive 28-13 lead with another touchdown, this one from two yards out.
El Camino would get on the board late in the final minutes thanks to a 15-yard touchdown catch by Wayne Steward.
Overall, El Camino's turnovers allowed Mission Hills to truly control the game flow. El Camino's Chris Brown was a bright spot, sporting multiple 10-plus-yard runs, while dishing out a myriad of big hits on defense.
On offense, Jaden Casey was good, but Jack Tuttle managed the game better. After all, it was a Casey second half interception that gave Mission Hills the opportunity to run out the clock and seal a victory.
With the victory the Mission Hills Grizzlies (6-2) now travel to Torrey Pines to try and win the Avocado League title outright against a 6-2 Falcons team. The El Camino Wildcats (3-5), on the other hand, look to a week 10 road matchup with the Carlsbad Lancers.
The battle between the cities of Oceanside and San Marcos has never been stronger in the sport of football. This Friday will be no exception.
On their homecoming night, the El Camino Wildcats (3-4) face one of their toughest opponents of the season in the Mission Hills Grizzlies (5-2).
Mission Hills comes into Friday’s game sporting victories over top-ranked Sabino and Oceanside and quality losses against Rancho Bernardo and Mater Dei.
Thanks to an offense lead by Jack Tuttle, the Grizzlies have averaged 21 points per game.
Last game against La Costa Canyon, Tuttle was responsible for three total touchdowns including the game-winning quarterback keeper.
Running back Sam Dixon, who also scored from one yard out last week, has the speed and power to do damage against a Wildcat defense that has been thrashed by the run this year.
Their efficient offense, even as powerful as it is, would be nothing without a controlling defense.
Discounting their 41-14 loss against Mater Dei, Mission Hills’ defense has allowed just 19 points per game in 2016. Ironically, despite scoring the second-most points in the Avocado League, the Grizzlies are undefeated in league play.
Against El Camino, Mission Hills will mainly utilize a 4-3 or even a 5-2 to try and stop the Wildcat phenom Chris Brown. Even if El Camino decides to throw the ball, defensive back Maxwell Milner and the rest of the Mission Hills secondary will be there to break up any ball thrown their way.
Speaking of El Camino’s offense, the Wildcats possess multiple weapons that could give them the edge over Mission Hills.
Under center is junior Jaden Casey, who has thrown for 1,056 yard and four touchdowns with a 62.0 percent completion.
Receiver Wayne Steward is a force to be reckoned with out of the slot thanks to 43 receptions for 531 yards and three touchdowns. Steward’s ability to make defenders miss with an array of bounces and jukes gives EC an added element of surprise.
Analysis of the Wildcat offense wouldn’t be complete without mentioning bruiser Chris Brown. With 1,010 yards, 13 touchdowns and a 7.1 yards-per-carry average, Brown is a focal point of El Camino’s offense.
And even though Brown can pound it up the middle for El Camino on offense, he can also intercept passes as a corner on defense.
Along with Kameron Bullock’s four picks, Brown himself has added two for 34 yards.
In either situation, the secondaries for these teams will dictate the pace of the game. If El Camino can keep D-I prospect Jack Tuttle at bay, it could open things up for their offense to run down the clock.