Oceanside Pirates 14, La Mirada Matadores 36
The Oceanside Pirates’ trek through the playoff brackets hit the end of the line in La Mirara, as head coach David Rodriguez’s squad fell 36-14 to the Matadores in the Division III-AA SoCal Regional Final.
La Mirada opened the scoring with running back Sei-j Lauao, who took a screen pass from Tristan Meter 12 yards for a 7-0 lead. A pair of special teams miscues then dug the hole deeper for the Pirates. A fumble on the ensuing kickoff turned into a short Matador field goal, and a blocked punt on the Pirates’ next possession was recovered in the endzone to give La Mirada a 17-0 lead.
Late in the first quarter, Robby Beardsley connected with Isaia Paopao for a 56-yard catch-and-run. And on the next play, Tevin Meadows scored from 27 yards out.
Oceanside intercepted Meyer twice in the second quarter, one from Azizi Hearn and the other from Julian Hicks. But they couldn’t turn either pick into points, and entered the half down 22-7.
Hicks hauled in a high-degree-of-difficulty catch in the third quarter, going up high and holding on through contact for a 22 yard gain. That eventually led to a 10-yard Beardsley-to-Ronan Ivanovich connection, bringing the score to 29-14.
But the home side would be the only ones to score again, as they tacked on an insurance touchdown in the final frame to seal the scoreboard at 36-14.
PREVIEW: For the Oceanside Pirates, the road to a state championship runs through Los Angeles. Coach David Rodriguez’s squad travels north to La Mirada this Friday night, for the Division III-AA SoCal regional championship, with the winner earning a trip to the state final.
While some wondered if the Pirates would struggle after losing legendary coach John Carroll to retirement, they picked up pretty much where they left off — stomping through the Division I bracket to bring home their 16th section championship. Now they move on to the expanded playoff bowl game rounds, where they have a chance to bring home a third state win.
The engine driving the Pirates’ offensive this season has been running back Niko Mageo. The senior has carried 194 times for 1130 yards (5.5 per carry) and 9 scores. Robby Beardsley has stepped into the quarterback role and provided a steady hand, completing 85 of 165 passes for 1233 yards.
PJ Poumele leads the defense with 80 tackles, followed by fellow linebacker Mageo with 71. Jamie Harris and Nick Zimmerman have each provided 6 sacks along the defensive line.
They’ll face off against a balanced attack from the Matadores, led by quarterback Tristan Meyer (1798 yards, 26 TDs) and running back Sei-j Lauago (1512 yards, 20 TDs).