Steele Canyon (2-2) escapes Otay Ranch (2-3) with a win beating the Mustangs 14-13 to get back to .500.
After a huge fourth down stop with their backs against the wall with 3:40 remaining in the game, the Cougars had their best drive of the night going 81 yards in a little over a minute for the game-winning drive. Quarterback Thomas Fishburne was the catalyst on the last drive using his arm and legs. The senior began the drive with an impressive 27-yard run then finished the drive with completions of 37,14, and a 19-yard touchdown throw on the money to Jordan Anderson. The most impressive thing about Fishburne putting it all together on the last drive was he had never left the field due to playing both ways. Playing safety, Fishburne came up with big tackles to stall multiple Mustang drives.
Otay Ranch got the scoring started with a Gus Espiritu 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Espiritu led the Mustangs on the ground with 20 carries for 120 yards. Later in the half with 49 seconds remaining, Sammy Paranada would punch it in from two yards out to regain the lead heading into halftime up 13-7. The offense in the second half would shoot themselves in the foot multiple times with costly penalties and untimely turnovers.
It was really the defense for the Cougars that set up the offense as both scoring drives would come after big plays on defense. In the second quarter, Defensive Lineman Billy Tellous would intercept Alfredo Garcia to give the offense good field position and Fishburne would do the rest scrambling for a 19-yard touchdown. The quarterback led the offense on the ground as well eclipsing 100 yards on the night.
It was a tough loss for Otay Ranch as they had a chance at the end of the game in field goal range with under a minute remaining, but they were unable to convert fumbling the ball on a reverse.
The win could prove to be big down the road as Steele Canyon will have the edge in the Division II standings over Otay Ranch. The Cougars will look to carry the momentum back home as they play Mira Mesa (4-0) Week 6, and the Mustangs will travel to Valhalla (2-2) to play the Norseman.
The Steele Canyon Cougars (1-2) cruise south and look to get back to .500 taking on the Otay Ranch Mustangs (2-2) in Week 5.
The Cougars have played the Mustangs three times in as many seasons and have beaten them twice with their one loss coming last year as the Mustangs were victorious 33-14. In the three games played all have been decided by more than double digits.
Otay Ranch Head Coach Lance Christensen will tell you his squad could easily be 4-0 with his two losses coming within a touchdown or less. The take away is they have come against quality programs as St. Augustine pulled out a late win 19-14 in last week’s South Bay Game of the Week.
The Mustangs offense is averaging 25 point per game thanks to a group of seniors. Wideouts Josh Lira and Zeek Cruz lead the receiving corps as Cruz tops all receivers with seven receptions for 169 yards and three touchdowns. Averaging a team best 26 yards per catch, Lira has five receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown. Alfredo Garcia is a duel threat with his arm and legs leading the team with 314 passing yards and 299 rushing yards.
After opening the season with a win, Steele Canyon has lost its last two with an extra week to prep for Otay Ranch. Their last loss was devastating coming on the road at the hands of Granite Hills in a 43-41 loss.
It is early in the season, but this game has huge playoff implications as both programs are in the bottom half of Division II. Find out which Division II team rises to the top only on KUSI’s Prep Pigskin Report at 10:30 pm.