Oceanside Pirates 22, La Costa Canyon Mavericks 7
The Oceanside Pirates welcomed a feeling Friday night that they hadn’t felt in weeks: winning. Breaking a three-game losing against La Costa Canyon Mavericks (6-3, 1-2), the Pirates (5-4, 1-2) accomplished two things with their convincing 22-7 win over the Mavericks. They regained some control of their season, and they slowed down the Mavericks’ upward trend on the season.
Helping Oceanside look like the Pirates team many would have expected to — but didn’t — see in most of the Pirates’ games this season, Oceanside quarterback Robby Beardsley threw for two touchdowns Friday, connecting first with receiver Jake Gerardi in the second quarter on a nine-yard score (already up 7-0 before the score, the Pirates’ first points came on a short first-quarter run from Niko Mageo).
Using the Pirates’ offensive output in Week 9 as a measuring stick, that would have measured out looking like a mile — were it not for two field goals in that game against Carlsbad, Oceanside would have been shut out. But more impressive was Beardsley’s deep shot to Taj Apodaca in the third quarter. Placing the Pirates solidly in line for the win, the Beardsley-Apodaca duo not only brought Oceanside six points and a 20-0 lead, but it also made them look more capable than they had in some time in the process — Beardsley needed no help from his receiver’s legs after the catch to account for the 51-yards gained. Passing from the Mavericks’ side of the field, Beardsley tossed the ball precisely where Apodaca was when he looked over for the ball — a yard or so deep in the end zone.
A sack of Beardsley and fumble forced by the Mavericks’ Connor Brown would lead to LCC’s only score, on a 3-yard Zach Goodkin run. But taken as a whole, Beardsley’s and the Pirates’ play was everything a struggling team needed to reset a season that really could have either been turned around or been lost emotionally in this game.
With the win, Oceanside is guaranteed to not suffer a losing season, though the team still needs to take down a league and city rival in the El Camino Wildcats (5-4, 0-3) in a week to guarantee the same for its intraleague play.
The Oceanside City Championship game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Oceanside High School next Friday. The Mavericks, meanwhile, will face the Torrey Pines Falcons (3-6, 2-1) in their league and regular season closer.
After another disappointing loss in Week 9, the Oceanside Pirates will try in Week 10 to salvage some playoff position in facing the La Costa Canyon Mavericks, who already are looking at a quality seed sitting atop the Avocado-West League standings.
At 4-4, Oceanside trails both of its final two games’ competitors in the league ladder. But a win against LCC would guarantee the Pirates to finish the regular season with at least an even .500 record. The Mavericks (6-2), meanwhile, have already matched their regular season total for wins a season ago, and will look to build legacy points in this Open Division era of San Diego Section football.
The Mavericks enter this one with all the momentum. Despite not having a winning streak to ride into the game with, La Costa Canyon can claim seven straight quality games.
Were it not for the Mavericks’ tough Week 8 loss to Carlsbad — a game that went to double overtime and nevertheless showed the Mavericks’ will to battle — those seven straight quality matches would be seven straight wins. La Costa Canyon hasn’t lost a game in regulation since its season opener against Arizona’s Desert Vista High School. And in last week’s 20-13 win over the Westview Wolverines, LCC showed resolve in a late-fourth-quarter comeback led by quarterback Tanner Clark, who would not only throw for the game-tying touchdown in the final few minutes but also run for the game-winner shortly thereafter.
Looking at Oceanside, the Pirates look to be in desperate need of a tourniquet to stop the season’s bleeding after three straight losses. Held to just a pair of field goals last week against a Carlsbad team that hadn’t defeated the Pirates since 2005, Oceanside’s disappointing season perhaps hit a low point in Week 9. To turn it around and give the Pirates a chance at a winning season, quarterback Robby Beardsley will have to play a bigger role against LCC, which fell to the Pirates big in 2014 by a score of 35-6.
Oceanside’s win from a season ago seems irrelevant, though, as this is definitely not the same 14-1 Pirates team. Whether Oceanside’s resolve to rise above .500 or the Mavericks’ determination to stay on top is stronger will play out Friday, with highlights to come on KUSI’s Prep Pigskin Report, starting at 10:30 p.m. after all of Friday night’s games.