"I think our kids kept fighting, the offense--when the defense surrendered points, came back...our kids handled adversity well."
-- Steele Canyon Head Coach Ron Boehmke
by Christopher Mohr
September 14, 2010 (Rancho San Diego) - When a team wins by a score of 28-14, it's not indicative of a blowout or total domination, but usually the winning team had some degree of control over the game. Although Steele Canyon won by that score Friday night at home against Bonita Vista (from Chula Vista), the game was much closer than the final score would suggest. The Cougars overcame dropped passes, turnovers, penalties and injuries in a hard-fought win over the Barons and improved to 2-0 on the season.
Steele Canyon's season got off to a good start last week with an opening day 35-12 win over previously top-ranked Cathedral Catholic High School. Charger defensive tackle Vaughn Martin was on hand during a pre-game ceremony to present Steele Canyon head coach Ron Boehmke with the Charger Coach of the Week award for the impressive win.
Momentum seemed to favor Steele Canyon early on against Bonita Vista. The Barons received the opening kickoff, but the drive stalled at their own 33-yard line after six plays. On the next play, Nathan Drum's punt was blocked, giving the Cougars excellent field position on the Bonita Vista 29-yard line. The Cougars' first few plays from scrimmage went well as Brad Boehmke completed a pass to Chanceller James for 16 yards a first down. Jake Wragg followed that play with runs of six and three yards, and it appeared that Steele Canyon was on the verge of scoring a touchdown.
However, with second-and-goal from the two-yard line, Steele Canyon received a holding penalty, moving the ball back to the Barons' 13-yard line. The Cougars were unable to make any progress towards the end zone, nor could they even salvage three points when Daniel Uribe's 31-yard field goal attempt missed after being partially blocked.
Eventually Steele Canyon found their way into the end zone on a drive set up by a huge 57 yard punt return by Wragg. Once again, the Cougars found themselves starting a drive deep in Bonita Vista territory on the 13-yard line. Just four plays later, Brandon Watson scored on a four yard touchdown run to give the Cougars a 7-0 lead.
Steele Canyon's difficulties continued when an interception with a big return by James was called back on a pass interference penalty. Bonita Vista eventually scored on the drive when Joel Gutierez scored from one yard out. Ryan Miguel's point after kick went wide left, allowing the Steele Canyon to hold on to a slim, one point lead, 7-6.
After the Barons' touchdown, Steele Canyon defensive captain Dante Patton suffered a knee injury and did not return to the game. The early indication is that the injury will cause Patton to miss some games, but likely not the season: "Sprained his knee, so I don't know how long that's going to take, but at least it doesn't seem like a season ender, it seems like maybe a couple of weeks," said coach Boehmke.
More misfortune came on the Cougars' next possession when Barons' defender Guillermo Martinez intercepted a pass from Brad Boehmke. Although the Barons did not convert the turnover to points, the turnover effectively deprived the Cougars of a great scoring opportunity.
In spite of the difficulties the Cougars faced, the team put together an effective drive before halftime. Wragg carried three times for 31 yards and caught a pass for eight yards to set up a 13-yard pass play for a touchdown from Boehmke to Kyle Sager, giving Steele Canyon a 14-6 lead at intermission.
Steele Canyon built on that success in the second half with an eight play drive which resulted in another touchdown run by Watson, this time from 31 yards. Watson credited his teammates with good blocking that made both his touchdown runs possible:
"Everything, I owe to my O-line and my tight end. The lead blockers, Jake Wragg, helped me out, quarterback got me the ball; it's all to them."
Watson's play gave the Cougars a 21-6 lead, but there was still plenty of football left to play.
The Barons responded with a lengthy 15 play drive that resulted in a three yard touchdown run by John Matranga. Gutierez threw a pass to Adrian Gutierrez for the two point conversion. The Barons only trailed by a touchdown, 21-14. Throughout the drive, the team speed of Bonita Vista proved to be troublesome, keeping the Steele Canyon defense on the field for over seven minutes. Matranga and Greg McGhee provided big runs, while Chris Moore caught two passes for 29 yards.
The Cougars responded quickly with a four play drive ending with a 13 yard touchdown run by Wragg on a misdirection play. Steele Canyon had a 28-14 lead with 11:50 left in the fourth quarter.
Although the Barons had three more drives they were unable to score again thanks to a Cougar defense that stepped up in the final quarter. A 13 play and a four play drive each stalled with the ball going to Steele Canyon on downs. Benjamin Gossmeyer sacked Gutierez forcing a fumble and turnover to the Cougars, who closed out the remaining minute of the game.
The running game was a key factor in the Cougars' win. In addition to Watson's run, Wragg ran the ball 19 times for a total of 104 yards. With Bonita Vista dominating time of possession, having the ball over 28 minutes, the success of the Cougars' running attack limited the effects of such a disadvantage.
"We didn't do as good of a job executing this game, but we did the job I guess," quarterback Brad Boehmke commented about the difficulty coming off the team's aforementioned upset win over Cathedral Catholic, "I think part of it was Labor Day, we had practice in the morning, it was different, we were definitely celebrating Cathedral, it was like, weak practices the whole week, so we came in a little shaky and had to make sure we stayed focused, so it was definitely harder."
Steele Canyon will face 0-2 Serra (San Diego) at home next weekend. Bonita Vista dropped to 0-2 and will face 1-0 Madison (San Diego) at Southwestern College in Chula Vista.
Christopher Mohr is a freelance writer in the San Diego area and is an avid Chargers, Padres and
SC - Watson 12 run (Uribe kick)
BV - J. Gutierez 1 run (kick failed)
SC - Sager 13 pass from Boehmke (Uribe kick)
SC - Watson 31 run (Uribe kick)
BV - Matranga 3 run (A. Gutierrez pass from J. Gutierez)
SC - Wragg 13 run (Uribe kick)