Jeff Smith 2 p.m., Jan. 29
Eagles start fast, race past rival Mustangs in battle of unbeatens
CHULA VISTA – In a showdown between undefeated South Bay neighbors on Friday night, Olympian jumped on Otay Ranch in the first half to stay in the section’s unbeaten ranks. The 10th-ranked Eagles raced to an early lead and rode that momentum to a 34-20 victory over the seventh-ranked Mustangs.
“We knew it was going to be a challenge. We’ve been working hard all week and we executed tonight – alignment, assignment, technique,” said Olympian senior quarterback Chris Humphery. “We knew that we needed to win this game and that failure was not an option.”
Olympian (7-0, 1-0 Metro Mesa) made a statement on the first drive of the game with its quick set offense. The Eagles took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards for a touchdown, a 20-yard run by senior running back Harrison Hulin that made it 7-0 with 8:48 remaining in the opening quarter.
“It was extremely important and it set the tempo for the whole game,” Humphery said.
Late in the first quarter, Otay Ranch (6-1, 1-1) had the ball deep in Olympian territory when Eagles senior defensive back Andrell Snowden intercepted a Kyle Hawkins pass on the four-yard line. Starting near their own end zone, the Eagles drove nearly the length of the field to extend their lead to 14 points – a 96-yard march capped by an 11-yard pass from Humphery to senior receiver Sergio Bailey.
“We got on them pretty well and had those two long drives,” said Olympian head coach Gil Warren. “They didn’t get the ball much in the first quarter and that was key for us.”
After a defensive stop on the ensuing drive, Olympian got the ball back and its offense kept rolling. Hulin ran for a seven-yard score with 6:34 left in the second quarter that put the Eagles ahead 21-0, a lead they held at halftime after keeping Otay Ranch’s explosive offense out of the end zone in the first half.
“Otay Ranch has some great athletes – we knew that all week but it’s hard to simulate that in practice,” Warren said. “They have the quarterback back there and he just kind of dances around, and then he’ll take off. You can’t be too forceful or he’ll go around you, so we just kind of played ‘catch the chicken’ and the kids did a good job.”
In the third quarter, Otay Ranch got on the board with a Hawkins 72-yard touchdown strike to senior receiver Chris Martin that made it a two-score game with 4:08 left in the period. On the next drive Olympian responded and delivered the knockout blow, a 57-yard Humphery touchdown run on third-and-short that stretched the Eagles’ lead to 27-7.
“It was actually a broken down play, but I had to improvise,” Humphery said. “That play sealed the game.”
Early in the fourth quarter, Hulin iced the game with a three-yard touchdown run on the first play following an interception by Olympian junior linebacker Rey Osuna. Otay Ranch added a pair of scores in the last seven minutes – Hawkins touchdowns passes to Martin and junior tight end Jevon Fields – but the Eagles’ lead was never threatened.
“They’re a good team, but we just came out on top this time,” Humphery said.
With the victory Olympian won the first ever “Battle of the ‘O’s” and claimed initial rights to the Double “O” Trophy, created this season for the schools located less than three miles apart. Olympian and Otay Ranch first met last season, starting a rivalry between the two newest public schools in the South Bay that is already filled with emotion.
“It’s a big rivalry – our school started from their school,” Warren said. “All of our kids live next door to each other, grew up together and played Pop Warner together. That’s why there was so much talking going on during the game.” http://sandiegoreader.com/users/photo...
Pictured: Fireworks lit up the South Bay sky during halftime of Friday night's Otay Ranch-Olympian game as part of Homecoming celebrations at Olympian High
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