OCEANSIDE -- An early-season test for two top teams from bordering counties provided ample opportunity for evaluation Friday night. Both Oceanside High and Chaparral received passing marks, but had the contest been graded on a letter scale, neither would have earned an A.
Oceanside, ranked No. 3 in San Diego County, held on for a 31-19 nonleague victory over the visiting Pumas, though the Pirates could have won much more convincingly if not for a pair of turnovers in the red zone. Chaparral, meanwhile, put itself in a 21-point hole that it couldn't dig out of despite a furious second-half charge.
"The bottom line is that we let them back in the game by turning the ball over," said Oceanside coach John Carroll, whose Pirates moved to 1-1 after losing Anaheim Servite, 20-0, in their season-opener. "We couldn't protect the football, and that's something that we just can't do.
"We hung in there and did what we had to do to put it away at the end."
Chaparral, which fell, 30-14, to San Bernardino Cajon to start its season last week, is now 0-2 and in the midst of another preleague schedule that's not for the timid. The Pumas have an off week and then face Corona Centennial, the top-ranked team in the CIF Southern Section Inland Division.
"We feel like we found ourselves this week," Chaparral coach Ryan Tukua said. "We have a lot of things to build on. I'm excited about our team, and I'm excited about the direction we're heading."
Early Friday night, it appeared Oceanside, the seven-time defending CIF San Diego Section Division II champion, would make quick work of Chaparral. The Pirates totaled 332 first-half yards and rolled to a 28-7 halftime lead on the strength of quarterback Tofi Paopao's 147 yards on 9-of-10 passing, including scoring strikes of 10 yards to Thai Cottrell and 21 to Ryshaud Keegan. Paopao got into the end zone himself on a 1-yard quarterback sneak just seconds before the break, and Cottrell added a 22-yard touchdown rush early in the second quarter.
Chaparral didn't go quietly, though. The Pumas opened the second half with a 73-yard scoring drive capped by a 4-yard run from quarterback Matt Morin , who jump-started the drive with a 39-yard completion to Chris Stratton .
Stratton caught 13 passes for 213 yards (Morin passed for 228 yards while completing 15 of his 30 attempts), and the Morin-to-Stratton connection quickly became unstoppable.
After Oceanside coughed up the ball at Chaparral's 3 yard line on its next possession, Morin hit Stratton with an 8-yard touchdown pass that got the Pumas within striking distance at 28-19.
Oceanside went three-and-out, and the Pirates' defense finally stopped Morin, pressuring him into two bad throws that forced the Pumas to try for a 39-yard field goal that fell short. Oceanside ran seven minutes off the clock on its ensuing drive, ending it with a 36-yard field goal from Fernando Elizarraraz that put the game out of reach.