La Costa Canyon Mavericks 40, Escondido Cougars 14

There has never seemed to be a more fitting place to get a Chick-fil-A sandwich than Chick Embrey Field at Escondido High School. That being said, La Costa Canyon (2-1) left the Cougars feeling like chicken nuggets Friday night, coming away victorious with a 40-14 rout. Though Escondido (1-2) showed signs of life early in the contest, recovering an onside kick on the opening kickoff and driving inside the red zone, they could not seem to finish. Cougars quarterback Kellen McCoy was intercepted by Mavericks Mark Roberts near the 10 yard line. The very next play, do-it-all running back for La Costa Canyon, Zach Goodkin took a handoff right tackle through a gaping hole at the line of scrimmage and bursted down the sideline for 70 yards. One snap later and Mavericks fullback Brett Pueschel found himself in the end zone from 20 yards out, and Escondido quickly trailed 7-0 in the first quarter. Fast forward to La Costa Canyon’s next possession, and receiver/running back Jake Cashman found Goodkin for another touchdown on a halfback toss pass from the 20 yard line. Later in the second half, Escondido was able to put up a pair of scores as Kevin Rodriguez found pay dirt on the ground in the third quarter, and McCoy hooked up with Miguel Rocha 15 yards through the air late in the fourth. But the storyline was all about the Mavericks. 

Defensively La Costa Canyon was stout, stuffing the Cougars run game, recording five sacks and causing two turnovers on the night. Offensively, La Costa Canyon can be as dangerous as any team in the county, and that is not said lightly. Heading into Friday, Senior quarterback Tanner Clark had been recovering from injury. Junior Jake Neufeld got the start and never looked back. Running mostly a pro-style attack for their first few possessions, featuring backs Goodkin and Peuschel, the Mavericks established their ground game. This allowed them to then spread out a little more, using the shotgun effectively, allowing Neufeld to show off an impressive arm. And Clark, playing on what seemed to be a limited basis Friday night, was effective with his touches, mostly coming from the receiver position. Just before half, Neufeld dropped back to pass near his own end zone. Feeling the pressure from the outside, he wisely stepped up in the pocket and let it rip. Clark, running a deep post route, leaped over his defender near midfield to make a sensational catch. Though it did not lead to any points, the two found each other again on what could be called the “quarterback to quarterback connection” for a 10 yard touchdown strike early in the third quarter. Next Mavericks possession, Sophomore running back Carson Lippert went untouched the entire way for a 53 yard score. The La Costa Canyon defense showed its force on the ensuing play from scrimmage recovering a fumble. And again, one snap later, Neufeld had pump faked a bubble screen only to launch a 38 yard touchdown pass to the aforementioned Cashman. 

The Mavericks’ seemed to find their MOJO after only scoring nine points a week ago, and if they continue to roll on all cylinders, the North County better beware. La Costa Canyon will host the currently undefeated Titans of Poway (3-0) next Friday in a potential NCGOW. Escondido will also play host next week as they take on Serra (1-1).

PREVIEW: For a team that has not sniffed the playoffs since the days of running back Ricky Seale, the Escondido Cougars, under first year Head Coach Jud Bordman, are a bunch filled with nothing but optimism after two weeks of the 2016 High School football season. They are hoping their confidence will carry over to Week 3 as they host an extremely talented squad of La Costa Canyon Mavericks. La Costa Canyon will be looking to prove last Friday night was nothing short of an anomaly, only scoring nine points, allowing five sacks and throwing two interceptions in a losing effort to Mt. Carmel. Escondido will have its hands full all week trying to prepare for a Maverick offense that can play two quarterbacks at any given time, as Head Coach Sean Sovacool can put his faith in Senior veteran Tanner Clark, or the talented Junior Jake Neufeld. Clark, a dual threat quarterback running the read option the past two seasons, looks to feature his arm more and more in this years spread attack. Neufeld, capable of threading the needle himself, can come off the bench at times while having the luxury of Clark as a target from the wide receiver position. When La Costa Canyon chooses to keep the ball on the ground, they have one of the more underrated backs in the county in Zach Goodkin. Goodkin has home run hitting ability whenever he touches the ball, whether it be a designed run or even out of the backfield on pass plays. These weapons with the addition of a head scratching performance from a week ago could combine for one big headache for the Cougars. That being said, Escondido is another program looking to get back on the rise after a rough stretch of seasons recently. The Cougars, like the Mavericks, have a record of 1-1 coming into this Friday. In their season opener, they suffered a heart breaking defeat at the hands of the Mission Bay Buccaneers by three points, but bounced back a week ago to topple Mira Mesa by three touchdowns. This included a pair of onside kicks recoveries. It should be interesting to see what other tricks Coach Bordman has up his sleeve this Friday as Escondido will look to stun a Mavericks team ranked in the San Diego Top 10 prior to last weeks defeat. Kickoff is at 7:00pm in Escondido, and be sure to tune into KUSI for all of the highlights on the Prep Pigskin Report at 10:30pm this Friday night.

Categories: 2014 PPR Archive, 2015 PPR Archive, 2016 PPR Features Part 1, 2016 PPR Features Part 2, Week 3: September 9, 2016