EC Preps



By Adam Paul


 CHULA VISTA – Dreams really can come true is what was accomplished on Saturday night out at Southwestern College as the Steele Canyon Cougars proved all doubters wrong with their victory.

Besides the game itself, it was an emotional week for the Cougars and Eastcounty as one of their football comrades had fallen in Granite Hills superstar William Burton.

On Monday evening like everyone else in the county, Mikel Oliver learned of the news of the passing of Burton who was killed in a car accident.

“It was terrible to receive the news but as soon as I heard I knew we had to honor him.” Said Oliver.

Indeed they did before the game carrying Burton’s No. 19 jersey out and also donning stickers on the back of their helmets of No. 19.  The emotion of the pregame carried right into the contest as the Cougars rode that by jumping out to an early lead.

Steele Canyon who came into the playoffs seeded No. 7 never gave up as they were branded underdogs in every contest.

This suited the Cougars just fine who took the moniker and ride it all the way to its eighth straight which included six playoff games.


Scoring first was Kenneth Watson who took the handoff and was able to find the house on a 9 yard score to make it 7-0 with 6:45 left in the first quarter. The second score for the Cougars came moments later when Oliver snatched the ball off an errant pitch off of a big hit by Darin Walton and scooped it up and rumbled all the way to house for 59-yards to make it 14-0.

Half Moon Bay would finally get on the scoreboard when they procured a safety and then following a free kick was able to score again seven plays later to make it 14-8.

Unfortunately the visiting team would strike again on a 96-yard drive to take the lead 15-14 to go into the intermission.

The one point deficit didn’t last long for the Cougars as barely into the second half Thomas Fishburne was able to roll and find Nathaniel Gorden for 73-yards who raced it all the way to the end zone to regain the lead.

After forcing a turnover the Cougars struck again as Fishburne ran one in to make it 27-15 with just about 7:30 minutes left in the third quarter.

Steele Canyon would again pounce and again get the ball back and score again on a Watson run to make it 34-15.

Despite the almost 20 point lead no lead was safe as every game in the State playoffs pretty had a Holiday Bowl finish with about every team with last possession winning.

Half Moon Bay would prove this correctly as they struck on a 6-yard run and were able to recover an onside kick and score once again to pull within 34-28 with about 10:26 left in game.

The Cougars didn’t panic as they were able to answer a little by driving and kicking a field goal by John Lautner to go up again by two scores. However that didn’t last as Half Moon Bay agaon would score to pull within 37-35 with about 4 minutes to play.

Eventually the Cougars would strike the decisive blow as they moved quickly down the field and score with about 2:00 minutes to play on a Deonate McKinney 11 yard run.

One more score late by Half Moon Bay would give them a chance but their hopes were thwarted when Chance Johnson of the Cougars recovered the onside kick attempt.

Despite a first half that would see him complete no passes, Fishburne in the second half used his magic to complete 10 passes which saw the Cougars put up 30 points.

On the night Fishburne was 10 of 13 for 187 yards and one TD. The yardage gave him more than 2,000 for the season.

The really emotional beginning to the game started for the Cougars when Oliver and Tanner Ewert while walking in unison with teammates held up William Burton’s jersey. Also moment of silence was held before the game.

“No. 19 was watching tonight,” Oliver said. “Couldn’t be more proud of my team. Though all the adversity, we finished on top.”

For the Cougars it is their first ever State title which really solidified a magical se

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