EC Preps






SPRING VALLEY – In one of the more exciting rivalry games of late which have seen its share of madness occur this particular Friday evening was no different.

It would take another semi-miracle for the Granite Hills Eagles to procure the big victory and spoil the celebration in front of a huge homecoming crowd at Steele Canyon.

Going back and looking at the previous scores would show that out of the last six contests five would come down to the last play and all would be decided by a touchdown or less.

The 2018 regular season version came down to the final :10 as the Eagles defense faced a first and goal situation for the Cougars as they had the ball at the 7-yard line. This brought a couple of scenarios to the forefront in that they could kick the game-tying field goal or they were going to get the victory just as they had last season in the second matchup.

On what ended up being the final play Noah Medeiros burst his way through the line and grabbed Nathan Barnett and brought him down for the game-winning sack.

With the sack to end the game, the celebration was on for the Eagles who moved their record to 6-0 while Steele Canyon who had won four in a row dropped to 4-2.

The Eagles who haven’t garnered much recognition this season so far for whatever reason proved to be Cats as they appeared to be left for dead metaphorically multiple times but with less than a minute remaining in the contest would take what ended up being the final lead as Cris Ostreng worked his magic and punched his way for a 5-yard touchdown run which capped the long drive after it looked like the Cougars would pull it out after Barnett with just a tad over five minutes to go scored his 11th rushing touchdown of the season to make it 27-22 Cougars.

This was just the latest chapter in the pantheon of the skin of their teeth games the two ball clubs have played over the years recently. Last season in the two games the Cougars won a 28-27 road Division II Semifinal when the Eagles missed on a 2-point conversion with a little over four minutes remaining in the game. That victory really gave the momentum to the Cougars as they went on to beat the Ramona Bulldogs for the schools first San Diego CIF Section Title and also a California State Championship.

Before that contest, the two teams met in the regular season at Granite Hills in a back and forth affair which saw the Cougars lead late and the Eagles hopes dashed. However, Jacob Siegfried and company worked their magic and drove down the field and with only a couple of seconds left Siegfried found the late Will Burton for the improbable game-winning touchdown catch to give the Eagles the 43-41 victory in what was dubbed “The Miracle on Madison Street.”

Back to the present in front of the at capacity plus homecoming crowd, the Cougars looked like they would add to their 14-7 lead in the third quarter as they would drive to the 7-yard line of the Eagles but the drive would stall.

In came Jonathan Kenney to attempt a 24-yard field goal and add to the lead but the kick was low and was blocked by the Eagles Jake Hennessey which was picked up by Aaron Machado who raced all the way to the 26-yard line for 70 yards.

The Eagles were in business as the Cougars would commit a roughing the passer penalty the Eagles would pull within 14-12 when Chris Ostreng was able to hit Dylan Rutter for a 13-yard touchdown catch and score.

Granite Hills offensively in the first half couldn’t move the ball whatsoever as they were held to 38 yards and only tallied two first downs. The Eagles would score the games first touchdown when Ostreng would find the end zone on a short run which was set up by an Ethan Bishop 44 yard fumble recovery. After the blocked extra point, the Eagles led 6-0 with a tad over 3 minutes in the first quarter.

Steele Canyon didn’t lie down as they were able to move the ball behind Barnett and the running game. Deep in Eagles territory, Wesley Neely III took the handoff and from 15-yards out found the end zone to make it 7-6.

They would later add to their lead as Kenneth Watson scored from one yard out to take a 14-6 lead which was set up by a long punt return by Chris Carter.

Steele Canyon led the Eagles at the break 14-6.

It wouldn’t be until about the middle of the third quarter when the Cougars would add to their lead when Watson again scored from 1-yard out to make it 21-6.

Granite Hills would make a furious comeback and with 2:00 remaining in the third quarter would pull within 21-19 as Ostreng hooked up with Ethan Raymond who scampered for the 84-yard score.

The Eagles defense would come up with the big play a few plays later as they would recover a fumble at the 43-yard line.

They would eventually take their first lead since early on as Justin McElligott nailed a 22-yard field goal to make it 22-21. The field goal was set up by Jacob Setterberg hauling in a couple of passes that tallied for 45-yards worth of receiving yardage.

On the night, Ostreng threw for 222 yards on 10-of-20 passing and 2 touchdowns after being held to only 19 yards in the first half as he only completed 2-of-7 passes.

Despite trailing by a point the Cougars offense went back to business and with a smudge over five minutes to go would retake the lead as Barnett found the house.

Trailing once again the Eagles went with the “never say die” attitude and knew there was still some magic to be used. On what would end up being the game-winning drive, Ostreng would hit multiple receivers for big yards. From there he was able to run for 10-yards and as he was running out of bounds a Cougars player hit him which led to the officials throwing a penalty flag and calling a hit out of bounds penalty which moved the ball even further up. This would lead to the 5-yard game-winning score.

Steele Canyon knew they still had a shot and indeed they took advantage as Barnett was able to connect on a deep pass to Valon Martinez for 50-yards all the way to the 7-yard line of the Eagles.

So with just under :10 remaining, both teams decided to call back-to-back timeouts.

On what would end up being the last and pivotal play, Barnett took the snap out of the shotgun and as he dropped back was brought down by Medeiros as the clock ran out.

For the Cougars, Barnett finished with 106 passing yards and ran the ball for 128 yards. Watson tallied 101 yards on the night.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *