East County Sports

Lancers take playoff win out of Steele Canyon




By Jim Lindgren
© East County Sports.com


SPRING VALLEY (11-12-16) — So many injuries, too much bad luck, and multiple missed opportunities ultimately ended a disappointing season for Steele Canyon.

Carlsbad scored the first four touchdowns on Friday night (Nov. 11) en route to beating Steele Canyon 27-14 in the first round of the San Diego Section Division I playoffs at Steele Canyon.

With the win, No. 9-seeded Carlsbad (4-7) advances to play top-seeded Madison (8-2) in the quarterfinals next Friday. No. 8-seeded Steele Canyon (3-8) must wait ’til next year. The Cougars lost to Madison 48-7 in Week 2.

“We just didn’t have the guys,” Cougars coach SCOTT LONGERBONE said. “We battled, but we’re down a lot of guys.”

The 2016 infirmary report reads, in part: 2 broken collarbones, 3 ACL tears, a torn quadriceps, 2 dislocated shoulders. All of those involved key players … many of them two-way players.

“It was a rough season,” Longerbone said. “But that’s the nature of the game.

“Was it frustrating? Absolutely, it was frustrating. Most of the guys I lost were two-way players.”

Carlsbad wasn’t particularly crisp or dominant, but the Lancers did enough damage to secure their third straight victory.

The Lancers’ Isaiah Ramos threw three touchdown passes, completing 14-of-23 passes for 169 yards without an interception. Asa Turner nabbed two of those touchdowns and finished with three receptions for 57 yards.

Steele Canyon junior quarterback THOMAS FISHBURNE was 13-of-26 passing for 178 yards and two touchdowns, but he was also intercepted twice.

“Fish is a phenomenal football player,” Longerbone said. “He’s a phenomenal athlete. He has no quit in him, and I get him for another year.”

MIKEL OLIVER caught four passes for 66 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown pass. PERRY STEELE had five receptions for 63 yards, and ISAIAH THOMPSON hauled in a 27-yard touchdown pass.

Carlsbad dominated the first half – with 197 yards and 14 first downs to just 82 and five for Steele – and took a 20-0 lead into intermission after scoring with 0:06 to play.

Trailing 13-0, Steele Canyon was driving late in the first half when Turner stepped in front of a Fishburne pass at the 3-yard line and returned it 41 yards. Three plays later, the Cougars forced a punt situation, but the Lancers’ Seth Ketterrer instead pulled up and lofted a short pass to Cameron Thomas who turned it into a 32-yard pickup.

After a pass interference penalty on the Cougars’ Ramos hit Trent Nyberg in the back right corner of the end zone over XAVIER LEASAU for a 12-yard TD that made it 20-0.

In other words, Steele Canyon had a chance to cut into the Lancers’ 13-0 lead, but instead trailed 20-0 at the break.

“That last TD (in the first half) was on me,” Longerbone said. “I called for the punt block, and they got a huge first down right there. That was a killer.”

After a scoreless third quarter, Carlsbad scored on the first play of the fourth quarter as Ramos lofted a pass over JHAELON BRAZILE into the lap of Trent Nyberg at the 5-yard line, and Nyberg backed into the end zone for a 28-yard TD catch and a 27-0 lead for Carlsbad.

A mostly dormant Steele Canyon offense came to life in the fourth quarter.

Fishburne connected with Steele for a 21-yard gain and then found Oliver alone along the right sideline for an 18-yard scoring pass to make it 27-7 with 8:44 left. Oliver was aided on the gain by a textbook seal block by Willis at the 2-yard line.

After a 3-and-out defensive stand, Steele Canyon gave the ball back to Carlsbad on an interception and 26-yard return by Nate Coe. That helped set up a 48-yard field-goal attempt, but Ketterrer’s attempt was short, and the Cougars took over at the 20-yard line.

Nine plays and 80 yards later, Steele scored on a 27-yard pass from Fishburne to Thompson. At the onset, Fishburne was trapped in the backfield but alertly moved up and left before flicking a short pass to Thompson near the 20-yard line. Thompson made a nice move, flirted left and dove into the end zone for the score with 3:01 left.

An ensuing onside kick attempt was picked up by Carlsbad’s Jesse Atiga, and the Lancers ran out the clock.

“There’s no quit in these guys,” Longerbone said. “I’m really proud of them the way they finished.

“With all the injuries we had, I’ve got a lot of sophomores and a lot of juniors who got a lot of playing time this year. And we had a great freshman team. So things are looking bright for next year.”

Carlsbad opened the scoring Friday night as Turner came down with a 12-yard TD pass from Ramos with 1:08 to play in the first quarter.

After a 3-and-out, Carlsbad reeled off a 9-play, 62-yard drive, capped by a 1-yard TD plunge by Jason Siaosi.

Carlsbad started the season 1-7 with a forfeit loss to Del Norte in Week 1. But after surviving the brutally tough Avocado League, the Lancers are advancing in the playoffs with their third straight win.

“I jokingly call their league the SEC of San Diego football,” Longerbone said. “You march through that thing you’re saying something. I think our league is tough with Helix, Grossmont and Valhalla, but theirs is something else.”

And now they get Madison, whose only losses this season came against Vista Murrieta and Cathedral Catholic. Madison whipped Steele Canyon 48-7 earlier this year.

“(Madison’s) Rick Jackson is a great coach,” Longerbone said. “They’re ridiculously good. They have a Ferrari over there, and he wants to drive it.”

Leave a Reply

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