East County Sports

Cougars’ chances enhanced with Johnson




EastCountySports.com staff report


SPRING VALLEY – Steele Canyon head coach SCOTT LONGERBONE wasn’t sure how many times CHANCE JOHNSON’s name was called over the public address Friday night, but he sure never got tired of hearing it.

Johnson, a junior, was all over the place, according to the coach.

“Chance had a helluva football game tonight,” said Longerbone, following the Cougars’ 25-7 win over visiting Otay Ranch. “He was on fire, man. He was everywhere.”

Johnson was most noticeable when running long distances to the end zone.

He caught a 53-yard touchdown pass, had a 79-yard punt return and had another length-of-the-field returned called back due to a penalty.

To boot, he finished with two more receptions, rushed three times for 33 yards, and made four tackles from his safety spot, including one for loss.

The Cougars were terrific defensively, nearly posting a shutout on the Mustangs

“I think my linebackers were a little tired,” Longerbone said. “I probably should’ve called a timeout on that last drive, but our defense really showed up to play tonight.”

Steele Canyon senior quarterback NATHAN BARNETT threw his first touchdown pass of the season on a read that looked sure to be snuffed out by the Mustangs, but Barnett somehow escaped and lofted a pass to Johnson near the right sideline. He did the rest, stepping and sliding through the defense to cover the distance.

Barnett a two-yard keeper in the fourth quarter and finished with 183 yards of total offense.

The Steele Canyon backs are a little dinged up, but still, Steele rushed for 139 yards, including 15 carries by Barnett.

“We had two backs out so the heavy lifting fell to KENNETH (WATSON),” Longerbone said.

Steele Canyon’s JONATHAN KENNEY opened the scoring with 31-yard field goal in the first quarter. He added another 31-yarder in the third for a 13-0 lead and made his only PAT.

Senior linebacker BILLY TELLOUS registered a pair of sacks and stripped a ball out to force a fumble, while DAVID “COWBOY” LIPSCOMB had six tackles, including one for loss.

Otay Ranch (2-3) got on the board in the fourth on a 5-yard run by Puka Stewart, as the Cougars limited the Mustangs to just 148 total yards.

“They have a bunch of classy coaches over there with Lance (Christiansen),” Longerbone said. “Until we get tired of playing each other, its just going to be a good game.

“We like these tough matchups. If we can’t beat ’em, let’s learn from ’em.”

The Cougars have a high-profile matchup next week when they face undefeated familiar foe Mira Mesa next Friday on the road.

“I thought this was a big (win),” Longerbone said. “We are only playing four Division I teams, so this game was big.

“We’re not going to look past Mira Mesa because they are undefeated. Coach (Chris) Thompson’s got some weapons. He’s got some guys up there.”

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