Mt. Miguel Wins Overtime Period, Gains Tiebreaker Advantage for League and Playoffs
by Christopher Mohr
(RANCHO SAN DIEGO) October 30 - Tonight's football game at Steele Canyon High School between the host Cougars and the visiting Matadors from Mt. Miguel High School turned out to be a very exciting matchup between two Grossmont South league rivals. Both teams played to a 21-21 tie, but Mt. Miguel gained an advantage in terms of playoff seeding and league standing by winning an overtime period.
The Matadors got off to a quick start on the strength of their kickoff unit. Steele Canyon's Rudy Burruel fumbled the opening kickoff and Mt. Miguel recovered, giving the Matadors great field position at the Steele Canyon 15-yard line. Just a few plays later, A.J. Stanford carried the ball in from nine yards out to give the Matadors an early 7-0 lead.
Steele Canyon's kickoff receiving woes quickly went from bad to worse. On the next kickoff, Jorge Medina kicked a hard line drive that bounced off one of the Cougars' blockers. The Matadors recovered the muff at the Cougars' 44-yard line and once again had a short field with which to work.
"We were just told to squib it, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and it hit him, he tried to get out but he walked right into it," Medina said about the kickoff play and the opponent it struck.
Fortunately for Steele Canyon, Mt. Miguel was unable to convert the turnover to points. The Matadors went on a 12 play drive, but came up empty when Medina missed a 37-yard field goal attempt.
That's not to say that the Cougars solved their problems in the kicking game. They were forced to punt after their next drive went three-and-out. Mt. Miguel's Natone Morgan returned the punt 37 yards for a touchdown to put the Matadors up 14-0 with the game still in the first quarter.
Momentum changed as the second quarter would belong to Steele Canyon. They executed an impressive 10 play drive that covered 78 yards, ending with a 13 yard touchdown pass from Brad Boehmke to Taylor Mishler. Jake Wragg played a big part in the drive's success, carrying the ball four times for 46 yards.
The Cougars' next scoring drive was more efficient, bearing no resemblance to the previous one, taking only four plays to cover 76 yards. A 54-yard pass play from Boehmke to Cody Simpson tied the game at 14 just before halftime.
"The corners came up and bumped, so I checked the route and went deep on them. Cody's a fast guy so you have to have a pretty fast corner to cover him," Boehmke said about the game-tying play.
Steele Canyon's success carried over into the second half as they went back to the ball control strategy that served them so well on their first scoring drive. Alex Perlin had four carries for 26 yards while Wragg ran the ball three times for 24 yards. The drive covered 16 plays and 73 yards, ending on a one-yard touchdown run by Boehmke to put the Cougars ahead 21-14.
Mt. Miguel was not about to quit and executed some ball control of their own on their next scoring drive. After covering 16 plays and 80 yards, they tied the game at 21 on an eight-yard pass from Stanford to Willie Morales. Derall Hunter, the career leader in rushing yardage for Mt. Miguel, ran 11 times for 44 yards to aid the lengthy drive.
Punts and turnovers by both teams would be the story for both teams' offenses for the remainder of the game. With neither offense able to move the ball effectively, one of the things that competitive athletes dread most eventually came to fruition: the game ended in a tie.
Tie games by their very nature are anathema to the game of football. Domination, whether physical, mental or both, is a major part of the sport. It dictates that someone wins and someone loses. The concept of a tie game has been compared by many to kissing one's sister. It is an outcome so undesirable that losing almost seems better. Most sisters would probably agree. So would most of football's governing bodies.
The NCAA years ago established a tiebreaking procedure for its games. About the only way a football game can end in a tie is from violent weather or a natural disaster. It is possible to get a tie in the NFL, but their rules make it unlikely as many NFL seasons pass by without a single tie game.
To appreciate how rare a tie is in the NFL, one need look no further than Mission Valley: the San Diego Chargers have not played to a tie since 1973.
Unfortunately for high school fans, the CIF is not as averse to tie games as the NCAA and NFL are. CIF rules do not normally allow tiebreakers during regular season games.
However, since Steele Canyon and Mt. Miguel are both in the Grossmont South league and are both in Division III, an interesting paradox emerged. They would have to play an overtime period to resolve potential future ties in league standings and playoff seedings, but the results of the overtime would not change either team's record or the final score of the game.
Mt. Miguel got the ball first in the overtime period and moved the ball effectively. Stanford connected on a pass play to Morales for 14 yards while Hunter carried three times for 11 yards and scored on a one-yard touchdown run. Advantage Matadors.
The Cougars were not as effective moving the ball in overtime. After going eight yards the first two plays on consecutive runs by Perlin, Steele Canyon went backwards after an incomplete pass and a false start penalty. When they failed to convert a fourth down, the overtime period was over and the Matadors' sideline erupted in jubilation.
Although the game was officially a tie, it was obvious that Mt. Miguel felt like they won while Steele Canyon felt like they lost. Comments from players on both teams confirmed this feeling:
"It feels great to beat Steele Canyon. The varsity hasn't beat them in six years since the school opened," Stanford said about the game.
"It's tough losing, especially the way that we've been rolling right now," Boehmke said, describing the feeling from Steele Canyon's sideline.
Although losing the tiebreaker was disappointing for the Cougars, it may not have done much to damage their chances of winning the Grossmont South league title.
"It's definitely not the end of league for sure. We're ahead of these guys by a game in league, and we're confident that we can come back and we're going to win league," Boehmke said about his team's outlook.
Both teams continue Grossmont South league play and are 5-2-1 overall on the season. Steele Canyon is 2-0-1 in league play and stays home next week in a showdown against Valhalla. Mt. Miguel is 1-1-1 in league play and comes home to face Monte Vista.
Christopher Mohr is a freelance writer in the San Diego area and is a huge Chargers, Padres and Detroit Red Wings fan.
MM - Stanford 9 run (Medina kick)
MM - Morgan 37 punt return (Medina kick)
SC - Mishler 13 pass from Boehmke (Bruder kick)
SC - Simpson 54 pass from Boehmke (Bruder kick)
SC - Boehmke 1 run (Bruder kick)
MM - Morales 8 pass from Stanford (Medina kick)
MM - Hunter 1 run (Medina kick)
* - Points scored in overtime period did not count towards final score. See story for details.