"This is our most balanced, complete team we've had. That's what makes it special."
-- Steele Canyon head football coach Ron Boehmke
by Christopher Mohr
October 20, 2010 (Rancho San Diego) - It might come across as arrogant if Steele Canyon High School changed their motto, 'You Cannot Bend Steele', by tacking on 'especially with Granite' to the end, but after Friday night's (10/15) homecoming game it would be hard to argue with such a statement. The host Cougars scored early and often against the visiting Eagles of Granite Hills High School in a 49-16 rout.
The game marked the beginning of Grossmont Hills league play for both teams and was played under light drizzle conditions. On some occastions, both teams seemed to have trouble handling the ball and getting proper footing, but most of the game the weather was not an issue.
Brandon Watson helped Steele Canyon get off to a fast start by intercepting Eagles' quarterback Cory Lockman twice on consecutive drives. The turnovers were both inside the Eagles 25-yard line, allowing the Cougars to travel a short distance in scoring their first two touchdowns of the game. Jake Wragg scored on a one yard run and Brad Boehmke connected with Reece Dale on a 13 yard pass play and the Cougars quickly had a 14-0 lead.
Watson's defense gave the Eagles trouble throughout the game. In addition to his two picks, he also added two sacks.
Something else that gave the Eagles trouble was Wragg's running attack. He finished with 145 yards on 14 carries and scored four touchdowns. "Most of my success came from the O-line blocking for me, lead blockers blocking for me, coach having us work as a team and just working hard in practice," said Wragg about his performance. Wragg also had four touchdowns in the season opener against Cathedral Catholic.
Another key factor in the game was the field position. The average starting field position for the Eagles was on their own 28 yard line. Six of their 11 possessions started on or behind their own 20-yard line. The Cougars' average starting field position was on their own 45-yard line with four of their 10 total possessions starting in Eagles' territory.
The Eagles got on the scoreboard in the first quarter on a 24 yard field goal by Gilbert Perez, but they would not score again in the first half. In addition to their first two drives ending on interceptions by Watson, two other drives ended with the ball going over to the Cougars on downs. Steele Canyon had a commanding 35-3 lead at halftime.
One bright spot for Granite Hills was the running of Frantz Laraque, who finished the game with 142 yards on 20 carries and one touchdown.
Laraque's running however, was not enough to make up for the large deficit the Eagles had in the first half, which enabled Steele Canyon to play their reserves for the third and fourth quarters.
It's too early to make predictions about the Cougars' 2010 season, but so far their performance has been impressive. They beat Cathedral Catholic 35-12 in the season opener and were a couple of plays away from defeating defending Division I champion Eastlake in a 20-17 loss to the Titans. They also have big wins including a 35-8 win over Point Loma, which knocked the Cougars out of the CIF playoffs in 2009, and a 56-7 rout over San Diego Serra.
Steele Canyon improves to 5-1 on the season and travels 'over the hill' to face their biggest rival, Valhalla (3-3) in another Grossmont Hills league game. There is no love lost between these two teams and the Cougars will be especially eager to avenge a 14-7 loss to the Norsemen last year.
That win allowed Valhalla to win its first football league title in the school's history, something the Cougars did not want to happen on their home field. Last week, Valhalla lost 13-7 to Grossmont High School.
Steele Canyon head coach Ron Boehmke thinks that this year's team is the best he has had in the school's nine year history of playing varsity football.
"This is our most balanced, complete team we've had. That's what makes it special. Our defense complements our offense. We're solid. We're not off the charts in any one area but were doing well in all phases of the game, and attitude-wise they're great kids, they work hard and are intelligent; great group of kids to work with."
Granite Hills drops to 4-2 with the loss and will face West Hills (3-3) at home. Last week, the Wolfpack suffered a devastating 41-7 loss at home to Helix.
Christopher Mohr is a freelance writer in the San Diego area and is an avid Chargers, Padres and
SC - Wragg 1 run (Uribe kick)
SC - Dale 13 pass from Boehmke (Uribe kick)
GH - FG Perez 24
SC - Wragg 56 run (Uribe kick)
SC - Boehmke 2 run (Uribe kick)
SC - Wragg 3 run (Uribe kick)
SC - Wragg 8 run (Uribe kick)
SC - Nelson 2 run (Uribe kick)
GH - Laraque 5 run (Perez kick)
GH - Lockman 7 run (kick failed)