“We made history tonight,” Miller said. “We are going to have this experience throughout the rest of our
lives. We made it to the CIF championship game. No one can take that away from us. Whether we win or lose next week, we’ll have the experience.”
Fellow senior teammate Kenidy Malauulu, who sacked the quarterback twice in the final quarter, shared his joy.
“It was a lot of hard work,” Malauulu said. “Ever since my sophomore year, we’ve made it a goal to get here (to the championship game).”
Sophomore running back Chris Brown rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns for the Wildcats (7-5). He’s looking forward to next week’s matchup.
“It feels really great (to get the win),” Brown said. “My thoughts about Oceanside are just to execute and stay disciplined.”
El Camino scored first when senior running back Aris Jackson caught a 14-yard TD pass from senior quarterback Beau Gallegos with 1 minute, 29 seconds left to play in the first quarter.
Steele Canyon responded by tying the game at 7-7 when sophomore quarterback Thomas Fishburne scored with a 12-yard run with 5:44 left to play in the second quarter. Fishburne rushed for 84 yards.
“I give kudos to them because they’re a big, physical team,” Steele Canyon coach Scott Longerbone said. “I have a great quarterback who is going to be a stud. We created two more turnovers tonight, but we couldn’t create it into points. We just didn’t get the breaks tonight.”
El Camino committed two turnovers, but it proved to be no consequence against the visiting Cougars (8-5). The Wildcats kept Steele Canyon’s dynamic duo, No. 22 Malcolm Anders and No. 25 Pierre Alexander, out of the end zone. Anders carried the ball 13 times for 81 yards, and Alexander rushed for 69 yards on nine carries. Both running backs are seniors. The Cougars beat Vista in the first round and Grossmont in the quarterfinals to reach the semifinals. Steele Canyon has never been to a CIF title game in the school’s 14-year history.
This will be El Camino’s 11th time to the championship game. It was former coach Meyer, the stadium’s namesake, who led the Wildcats to those CIF title games. The school won eight of those 11 games.
El Camino head coach John Roberts hopes to lead the school to its ninth championship, which would tie Vista for fourth most on the all-time championship list.
It would be quite an accomplishment for the 35-year-old coach, who is only in his second year at the school. Prior to his arrival at El Camino, Roberts was the offensive coordinator at Saint Augustine in San Diego.
Earlier this month, the Pirates beat El Camino 29-7 in an Avocado West League matchup.
“We came up short in that game,” Roberts said. “We need to be consistent by running and passing the ball well. We need to play our best game.”
The No. 3 seeded Wildcats secured a bye in the first round of the playoffs before it beat Torrey Pines 14-10 in the quarterfinals on Nov. 20. Earlier in the season, the Wildcats had lost to the the Falcons, a league opponent. As a matter of fact, El Camino did not beat any league opponents during this year’s regular season.
“We won our first league game in the first round of the playoffs,” a smiling Roberts said. “All that we’ve done is now in the past. It’s a brand new season. Everyone is beatable.”
Oceanside, with 15 titles, has won the most CIF San Diego Section banners. The school has 23 appearances in the title game.
Southwestern College is located at 900 Otay Lakes Road, Chula Vista.
CIF SAN DIEGO SECTION FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS
Contact Shawn Hobson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @HOBMediaWorks.