East County Sports

Suddenly, Vaqueros are CIF contenders

EL CAPITAN'S CONNOR ROOSE sweeps around the right side Friday night. / EastCountySports.com photo

2016 EAST COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL

EL CAPITAN 24, WEST HILLS 17

 

By Ramon Scott

EastCountySports.com

 

SANTEE – The El Capitan Vaqueros have plenty to play for entering these final two weeks of the 2016 regular season.

And the Vaqueros solidified their position near the top of the San Diego CIF Division 2 power rankings by holding off West Hills, 24-17, behind a pair of second half interceptions by COLTON SANDOVAL Friday night.

El Capitan (4-5, 1-3 Grossmont Hills League) is a serious contender for the CIF championship and are in position to receive a first-round bye, trailing only powerful Poway in the current seedings. The Vaqueros host Steele Canyon in next Friday’s season finale in Lakeside.

It marks a pretty remarkable turnaround for the Vaqueros following last season’s letdown following after their historic 2014 run.

Last night, the teams traded a pair of scoreless possessions in the first quarter.

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West Hills’ GRIFFIN GUINN rumbles against El Capitan Friday night. / EastCountySports.com photo

Two minutes into the second, however, El Capitan quarterback WICK HAUSER lofted a high aerial for his top wideout JAVIER VIDALEZ deep down the right sideline and the senior captain got behind the defender to catch the pass in stride. He was wrestled down just inside the pylon for the game’s first score.

After the El Capitan defense stopped another Pack possession, the Vaqueros scored just a couple of minutes later on a 40-yard pass from Hauser to junior slot JOHNNY HAYNES, who caught the upfield slant in stride and he split the Wolf Pack defense to race untouched 44 yards to the end zone.

CADE WEAVER kicked 25-yard field goal with under a minute to go before intermission, as El Cap led 14-3 at halftime.

Senior RUBEN GUZMAN booted a 20-yard field goal to extend the El Cap lead to 17-3 midway through the third quarter, as the Vaqueros extended the drive with a fourth-down rush for a first.

West Hills running back JOVAN BEA made a pair of big rushes to take the Pack quickly into El Capitan territory.

Weaver then made an awesome reception of a long ball amidst defenders down to the 2, where quarterback HAYDEN ROACH executed a quarterback sneak behind OSCAR MORALES and ZACH WEAVER to close the lead to 17-10.

West Hills appeared to be continuing their comeback when MITCHELL CARLIN made an interception and big return all the way to the Vaqueros’ 25-yard line.

But just as the Pack appeared poised to tie the game in the red zone, the Vaqueros’ COLTON SANDOVAL stepped in front of a roll-out pass intended for a receiver near the back of the end zone for a touchback.

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CADE WEAVER, of West Hills, is congratulated by Guinn following a catch at the 2-yard line Friday night. / EastCountySports.com photo

West Hills would get the ball back to start the fourth quarter, but a botched center snap was picked up for a scoop and score by OSCAR VALENZUELA, of the Vaqueros, for a 24-yard TD.

The Wolf Pack made an impressive quick march to return the favor, ending on another scoring sneak from Roach to close the lead back to 24-17.

The Wolf Pack made another stop and got to take the ball over at their own 32 with 6:36 left in the third quarter and moved it out to midfield behind the pounding running of GRIFFIN “MOOSE” GUINN.

Then Bea had another beastly slash and bash run down to the 37.

However, Sandoval would step in front of another pass for his second crucial interception of the half with 3:10 left, the he dove for an errant pass at his own 30-yard line.

The Vaqueros were able to run the clock out with a pair of first downs.

CONNOR ROOSA was the workhorse for the Vaqueros. The junior rushed for 143 yards on 27 carries.

Hauser, a freshman, was 8-for-17 for 148 yards for the Vaqueros. Vidalez finished with three receptions for 70 yards.

The Wolf Pack are trying to hold on to a first-round home game in the Division 2 playoffs.

 

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