East County Sports

Cougars can’t stop Pirates rally in OT





By Thomas Ringer

Special to EastCountySports.com


SPRING VALLEY – Friday Night in the foothills of Jamul, the Steele Canyon Cougars and coach Scott Longerbone hosted the Oceanside Pirates in a San Diego CIF Division I semifinal.

The result was probably the most heartbreaking for the East County teams that were eliminated on Friday evening.

This game went into overtime tied at 19-all after the Cougars had a 19-0 lead with 10 minutes left in the third quarter.

The Oceanside Pirates though, believe that when adversity strikes, you strike back even harder.

Which is exactly what coach Dave Rodriguez and his varsity football team did against the top-seeded Steele Canyon Cougars on Friday.

Junior running back Kavika Tua had led the 26-point charge to upset the Cougars. This started on the field after the Cougars had silenced Tua to only 7 yards on eight carries in the first half.

A spark had changed in Tua when they came on the field for the second half.  The back ran for 179 yards and had four receptions for even more yardage.

Tua ended the night with 246 yards and an overtime win for him and the program he leads on the field.

It was, of course, with the help of Jakob Harris, who walked off the field completing 17 of his 30 passes for 206 yards and two touchdown passes, including the game-winner on the second play of overtime to Rich Jaime, who dove in by the goal line’s left side to get the 26-19 final score.

As for the Cougars, they had pushed for a first down but had gotten beat by an interception from Oceanside senior linebacker Jalen Ramsey to secure the victory and the semifinal berth.

Steele Canyon (9-2) was all emotions on the sideline following the heartbreaking loss.

Coach Longerbone exclaimed to his team tonight, “If you hurt, it means you care.”

There were scenes of players being consoled by their family members, significant others, and coaches after the loss.

“We need to protect the football when we want to win football games,” Longerbone said. “There were too many turnovers and mental mistakes tonight, along with Rodriguez and his gameplan coming out here, that was enough to beat us.”

With the game plan that Rodriguez came out with and some small mental errors by the Cougars, Oceanside (8-4) came away with a Division I win. The Pirates go on and take on the Madison Warhawks, who beat Grossmont, 40-28.

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