EC Preps

COUGARS POUNCE THEIR WAY TO VICTORY AND BOOST PLAYOFF PATH

PHOTO BY RAMON SCOTT

EAST COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL

By Adam Paul

Spring Valley – A funny thing happened in that for the second time in a couple of weeks the bus for the El Capitan Vaqueros was late to their destination. This time the bus forgot to pick up the Vaqueros. However unlike the last time the home team ended up winning.

The Cougars would strike first as they pounded it out on the ground on the first possession. It would take them 3 plays before Kenneth Watson would find a hole and scamper in for a 67-yard score to make it 7-0 Steele Canyon.

The defenses for both teams would hold the offense for the rest of the period and the Cougars led by the one score after the first quarter. The Vaqueros would get the ball back and drive down the field as Antonio Olivieri was able to find Connor Roosa for a pass in which he was able to work his way into Cougar territory to the 32-yard line for the 58-yard pass. Unfortunately a couple of plays later the drive was stamped out when Robert Whitehead picked off the pass at the 3-yard line. The Vaqueros would hold the Cougars.

A couple possessions later the Cougars would march all the way down to the 23-yard line of the Vaqueros when Thomas Fishburne would find Perry Steele for the 23-yard score to make it 14-0 with about 5 minutes in the half. The Vaqueros would get the ball back and work their way down the field as Olivieri was able to find Star Iuli for a pass which he hauled in and rumbled his way to the Cougar 27-yard line with about a couple minutes left in the half.

The Vaqueros would convert on a third and three at the 20-yardline and get down to the 4 of Steele Canyon where Olivieri would call his own number and score on the keeper to cut the deficit in half 14-7 just before the intermission.

The start of the second half showcased the defenses as they stepped up and stopped the other offense. With about 4 minutes to go in the third quarter the Vaqueros would garner a golden opportunity as the Cougars were forced to punt at midfield. However Kevin Von Yokes for the Vaqueros broke through and got his hands up and blocked the punt in which the Vaqueros recovered at the Steele Canyon 34-yardline. This was the opportunity that had been waiting for the Vaqueros.

El Capitan was able to move to the 22 of the Cougars but unfortunately once again a turnover occurred as once again Whitehead snagged an Olivieri pass for an interception. The Cougars would take advantage of the turnover and 9 plays later score on a one yard sneak by Fishburne to pretty much put the game away 21-7. Steele Canyon would score another touchdown as Hayden Roach would sneak one in to make it 28-7.

SCORE: Steele Canyon 28, El Capitan 7

RECORDS: Steele Canyon (6-4, 3-2), EL Capitan (3-7, 1-4)

PIVOTAL PLAY: The Cougars defense coming up big to stop the Vaqueros offense after they had a punt blocked in their territory.

QUOTABLE: “We prepped all week for a close game and we were able to take advantage of opportunities in the second half.” Said Steele Canyon Coach Scott Longerbone

NOTES: Antonio Olivieri for the Vaqueros finished with 259 passing yards and a rushing score. For the Cougars, Thomas Fishburne finished with 165 yards and also a rushing score. Kenneth Watson rolled up 161 yards on the ground for the Cougars.

The loss for the Vaqueros pretty much knocks them from the playoffs while the Cougars will make the playoffs at a possible 6th or 7th seed in Division II.

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