Matthew Lickona 11:49 p.m., Dec. 10
Titans use big third quarter to win Mesa title
Playing their first home game of the season and celebrating Homecoming before a sold out crowd on Friday night, it seemed to make sense that Chula Vista would beat Eastlake. Somebody forgot to relay that message to the Titans, who captured their third straight Mesa League title with a 28-11 win.
“It feels great,” said Eastlake head coach John McFadden. “We have three goals during the season – we completed one of the goals.”
The Spartans broke the ice with a safety in the first quarter. Trailing 6-2 in the second quarter, Chula Vista scored on a Taimi Tutogi run and added a field goal to go into the break with an 11-6 lead.
The halftime show concluded with a series of fireworks. Eastlake added some of their own in the third quarter.
“I challenged them a little bit at halftime and they responded really well,” McFadden said.
After forcing a Chula Vista punt to start the second half, Eastlake drove 75 yards in just more than two minutes. A 15-yard touchdown run from Tony Jefferson capped the drive and put Eastlake ahead 13-11.
When Eastlake got the ball back, it took them exactly 13 seconds to extend their lead. Running back Randall Williams took a handoff and ran 54 yards through the Chula Vista defense to put the Titans ahead by 10. And they weren’t done there.
With 1:42 left in the third quarter, Eastlake used the ground game to find the endzone again, as Williams scored on a 25-yard run. The score was Eastlake’s third of the third quarter, part of a dominant quarter on the ground.
“In the second half, our O-line showed them that they are the best around,” McFadden said.
The Titans 17-point lead entering the fourth quarter was more than enough. Eastlake’s defense shut out Chula Vista the entire second half and stopped two Spartan drives inside the red zone to ensure a sound victory.
“The first half we came out kind of slow. We were a little uneasy,” Williams said. “In the second half, our coach told us to start waking up and we started waking up.”
With the win, Eastlake (8-2, 4-0 Mesa) won their third league championship in a row, while Chula Vista (7-3, 3-1) finished second in league. Both teams are in the running for first round playoff byes.