Open Division Final: Oceanside 20, Helix 13

The 2014 CIF San Diego Section Open Division Football Championship featured San Diego’s top two elite and successful football programs. Oceanside Pirates (12-0, 4-0) and the Helix Highlanders (10-2, 4-1), met up once again this past Saturday night to decide who is the legit undisputed San Diego Prep Football juggernaut!

From the opening kickoff it was apparent that these two teams were prepared for an epic battle. Each were flying around the field and laying down bone crushing hits. The Pirates were unable to get anything going on their first possession and were forced to punt.

Helix went to its dynamic duo, QB #9 Michael Austin and RB #2 Nathan Stinson, on its first drive. The pair was able to slash their team down to Oceanside’s 15 yard line. Pirate defensive lineman Armadeo West brought the boom to Helix on the first drive. He accounted for a pass block, a smash mouth tackle, and a crucial third down sack. Helix was forced to settle with a 37 yard field goal, putting them up 3 – 0 halfway through the first quarter.

Oceanside again was not able to put together or sustain a scoring drive on its next possession. They were forced to punt the ball deep into Helix territory. On Helix’s first play from their 24 yard line, the Phenom Stinson juked into the second level and then turned on the rockets. After breaking into the secondary, he showcased his next level speed, tearing off a 76 yard touchdown run. The Highlanders went up 10 – 0 and Oceanside looked stunned and morally defeated.

Each team traded the ball back and forth throughout most of the second quarter. The Pirate and Highlander defenses played tenacious limiting either offense from getting anything going. Pirate QB #2 Matthew Romero showed signs of life, towards the end of the second quarter. He connected with 3 different receivers on their last drive of the first half. The Pirates settled for a 41 yard field goal as time expired. At halftime the Highlanders were up 10 – 3. Helix looked like the hungrier team in the first half and were able to better execute.

This was a tale of two halves. Oceanside Head Coach John Carroll must have given his team a brilliant and motivating speech, because the Pirates looked and played angry from the first play of the second half.

Helix went to their premier back Stinson on their first drive. He had 5 carries for 48 yards but was unable to convert a first down deep in Oceanside’s red zone. The Highlanders settled for a 33 yard field goal to go up 13 – 3. The Pirate’s red zone stopped completely started the shift of momentum in this Championship game.

Oceanside’s massive and towering front started to wear down the Helix opposition. Pirate QB Romero and RB #21 Josh Bernard shared touches, as Oceanside was able to drive into Helix territory late in the third quarter. Romero looked more comfortable and accurate connecting with his dynamic wide receivers. Bernard followed his punishing up front blocking and was able to get to daylight multiple times. He finished the first Oceanside convincing drive with a seven yard touchdown run. The Pirates were back in the game only down by three, 13 – 10.

The tides definitely had turned! Helix was smacked in the mouth on its next possession by the aggressive Pirate defense. First play was a sack, the next was an incomplete pass broken up by a huge hit, and the third was another broken up pass. The Highlanders were forced to punt, but the Pirates were able to come up with a huge special teams play! They blocked the punt and gained possession at their 40 yard line.

On the very next play, Romero delivered a beautiful and accurate strike to wide receiver Johnny Arzola. The 40 yard touchdown pass created an eruption from the Oceanside side line and fan section! The Pirates who were down all game, went up 17 – 13. Helix had the wind knocked out of them, and were not able to advance the ball on their next drive.

Oceanside was able to sustain another drive and it resulted in another field goal. The Pirates were up 20 – 13 with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. The teams traded the ball back and forth two more times, with some of the most explosive hits witnessed this year in San Diego Prep football.

Helix was able to stop Oceanside with a minute and thirty left in the game. The Pirates punted the ball to the Highlander return man, but it bounced off of a Helix blocker and the Pirates recovered. The stadium erupted as the Oceanside kneeled down to win the game!

This epic open division championship will go down as one of the best battles in CIF history. It was a tale of two halves, as the Highlanders dominated the first half and the Pirates retaliated in the second half. Both teams should be extremely proud with the heart and intensity at which this game was played. Congratulations to the Oceanside Pirates, who are the 2014 CIF San Diego Section Open Division Champions. The San Diego Prep Superbowl was one for the ages!

Categories: PPR Week 15