Matthew Lickona 10:22 a.m., May 24
Division II: Mission Hills vs Oceanside
Oceanside running back Noah Tarrant scored six touchdowns in the Pirates’ 47-10 win over Mission Hills in the Division II finals
Pirates win seventh consecutive title in dominant fashion
QUALCOMM STADIUM – With only four returning seniors, 2010 was supposed to be Oceanside’s down year. Apparently somebody forgot to tell the Pirates that.
In the Division II finals on Monday, 4-seed Oceanside dominated 3-seed Mission Hills 47-10 to win their unprecedented seventh consecutive section title. The Pirates rolled over the Grizzlies in their most dominant performance of the season.
“It never gets old, that’s all I can say. It’s a different team each year,” said Oceanside head coach John Carroll. “What this team has achieved is incredible from the start of the season.”
Oceanside (10-3) received a stellar performance from senior running back Noah Tarrant. Tarrant scored six touchdowns – five rushing and one receiving – and rushed for 116 yards on 24 carries in the lopsided win.
“Noah’s a warrior and his heart is twice as big as his body. It was a great performance,” Carroll said. “Our offensive line did an outstandingly dominant job.”
Ahead 14-10 after Mission Hills (10-3) scored on a Hunter Moore 11-yard pass to Josh Stephens late in the second quarter, Oceanside quickly snapped up the momentum before the half. The Pirates drove 70 yards in 28 seconds, with quarterback Tofi Pao Pao punching it in from one-yard out as time expired in the first half.
In the third quarter Oceanside turned a close game into a blowout, scoring on its first three possessions and forcing three Mission Hills punts. Each of the Pirates’ scores came courtesy of Tarrant – touchdown runs of one and 18 yards and a 20-yard reception from Pao Pao.
“We played a dominant football game, especially in the second half,” Carroll said.
Early in the fourth quarter, Tarrant punctuated Oceanside’s win with a one-yard touchdown. His six scores were the most in the stadium since Marcus Allen ran for five scores in 1976.
“I didn’t know I broke a record. It’s just a blessing to break his record and to have people try and break my record now,” Tarrant said.
Oceanside’s 37-point victory was the most decisive of their seven consecutive championship wins. It was evident early on that the Pirates’ semifinal win at Helix restored their championship swagger, much to the chagrin of a quality Mission Hills team.
“It means a lot. We had to keep the tradition alive and it feels really good,” said Oceanside linebacker T.J. Sunia. “That’s Oceanside football right there.”
Carroll said this title was one of the most satisfying because the team overcame a lack of returning leadership in the beginning. The Pirates saw their 39-game winning streak come to an end in their season opener against Anaheim Servite – who plays in the Southern Section Pac 5 Division championship on Saturday – but kept their Division II championship streak intact at season’s end.
“What a legacy these guys have created for themselves,” Carroll said. “How far they have come – from an inexperienced football team to dominant CIF champions – it’s incredible and they deserve so much credit.”
“I don’t want the season to end,” Tarrant said, “but I’m glad it ended like this.”