In Friday night's non-conference matchup between the Mira Mesa Marauders and the Escondido Cougars, it was the Marauders who pulled off the victory on their opponent's turf. This game would go down to the wire, tied 20-20 with just two minutes left on the clock. It was certainly a hard-fought battle by the Cougars, who were able to cut a 14-point deficit to tie the game in the fourth quarter. But that wouldn't be enough to stop the Marauders, who would go on to win 28-20.
The Marauders came out strong from the very beginning, with Elijah Thomas putting Mira Mesa on the board early in the first with a 24-yard touchdown run. The Cougars responded in the second quarter, when Kevin Rodriguez made a 15-yard touchdown run to tie the game 6-6. Both teams had failed attempts at the extra point. Later in the second, Mira Mesa quarterback Noah Tumblin took it to the house himself on a 15-yard touchdown run, putting Mira Mesa up 12-6. The 6'2", 295-lb junior quarterback shined on Friday night, getting it done on the ground and in the air. In the third quarter, Tumblin kept it coming with a solid pass to Marcus Dean, who turned on his wheels and zipped past defenders, taking it 95 yards to the end zone. That TD, along with the successful 2-point conversion, would make the score 20-6 Mira Mesa.
The Cougars showed resilience to battle back late in the second half. Kevin Rodriguez gave the fans something to cheer about in the third when he ran it in seven yards for a touchdown that would cut the Cougars' deficit to just eight points. In the fourth quarter, Escondido turned it up another notch. Quarterback Robbie Ramos Jr. completed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Mason Malone, and the Cougars pulled off the 2-point conversion to tie the game.
Despite this late surge by the Cougars' offense, Mira Mesa didn't let the game slip away from them, and the Marauders came away with the 28-20 victory.
After experiencing the first loss of their season, Escondido will look to bounce back with new determination as they prepare to take on La Costa Canyon next Friday. Meanwhile Mira Mesa will look to extend their winning streak to 3-0 as they gear up to play Mt. Carmel. Tune in to PPR on KUSI every Friday night at 10:30pm to keep up with all the best highlights and recaps, and be sure to follow @RedJacketArmy on Instagram and Twitter.
PREVIEW: Week 2 of the San Diego high school football season takes us to Escondido High School, where the Mira Mesa Marauders will battle it out against the Escondido Cougars this Friday at 7pm.
Both teams are coming off big wins in their season-openers, with the Marauders defeating the Patrick Henry Patriots 47-14 in the Jersey Mikes City Game of the Week and the Cougars shutting out the Mission Bay Buccaneers 27-0. Thus, this non-conference matchup will determine which team will keep the winning streak alive.
The Marauders, led by long-time coach Gary Blevins, look to improve from last year’s season, which Blevins called “the toughest season I’ve ever had.” Mira Mesa went 1-9 overall. With a big win to kick off this season, it looks like they are off to a strong start, and this Friday night will determine if they can maintain the momentum.
The Cougars, anchored by second-year coach Jud Bordman, are also looking to bounce back from a rocky 2016 season, in which they went 2-8 overall. Their key to success this year will be to stay focused from start to finish, instead of letting close games slip away like they did in 2016.
Looking ahead to Friday’s game, Coach Bordman said, “We always battle well with Mira Mesa. I think they’re better than they’ve been in the past. Our kids are focused on making sure we’re taking away their playmakers and trying to expose what they can.”
Last time Escondido played Mira Mesa on September 2, 2016, Escondido came out on top with a 35-21 win at home. The Cougars will look for similar success on Friday, although they realize it’s a very different team this year.
“We’re really young,” said Coach Bordman. “We lost a lot from last year’s team. But I think that we have kids that are working hard, they like to grind. We’re going to do our thing and we’ll see what happens in the end.”
That’s something the teams have in common: they are both young squads. The Cougars have a freshman – Robbie Ramos Jr. – at starting quarterback, who despite his young age showed maturity in Game 1. Despite losing some key players, the Cougars have six returning starters on offense and six on defense. The Marauders only have six seniors returning, but they relied on a lot of sophomores last year who garnered the experience necessary to compete this season. This includes junior quarterback Noah Tumblin, who at 6-2 and 295 pounds is in his third season as a starter, and wide receivers Marcus Dean and Albert Lemon.
These Mira Mesa standouts shined last Friday night, and have the potential to do so again this week. Dean came ready to play in Game 1 against Patrick Henry, putting Mira Mesa on top in the first quarter with a 93-yard kick return. The Marauders would go on to score 27 unanswered points, including a 11-yard touchdown run by Tumblin on the very next possession. For Escondido, it was the offensive line who performed last Friday against Mission Bay, allowing senior running back Kevin Rodriguez to do damage. Rodriguez scored his first touchdown in the second quarter, running it in two yards after a hand-off from Ramos, and, just a few plays later, pulled off a 13-yard touchdown run. If the O-line has success again on Friday, Rodriguez will be a dangerous weapon.
Kickoff is set for 7pm, as the Cougars claim home turf for the second game in a row. It will be a battle to see whether Mira Mesa or Escondido will come away with a second straight win for the 2017 season. Make sure to tune in to the Prep Pigskin Report this Friday at 10:30pm for highlights and recaps, and be sure to follow @RedJacketArmy on Instagram and Twitter.