Mission Hills coach Chris Hauser and his players cheer their win over Oceanside.
The Oceanside High football team has played way too many big games to be a “deer in the headlights,” Pirates coached John Carroll had promised.
But his team, ranked No. 1 in the county, appeared to be exactly that Friday night in a 30-6 loss to No. 2 Mission Hills.
Before a standing-room-only crowd at Mission Hills, a crowd that was rocking from the opening kickoff, Oceanside committed six turnovers — four interceptions, two fumbles.
“Our crowd, our students were so great,” said Mission Hills linebacker-running back Ricky Liuchan, who rushed 17 times for 67 yards on offense and had eight tackles on defense.
“I don’t know if that hurt Oceanside, but it sure pumped us up.”
Oceanside’s turnovers led to 20 of Mission Hills’ points.
A first-quarter interception by DeChaun Holiday led to a Mission Hills field goal.
A Zach Harbin third-quarter interception set up a Grizzlies touchdown.
Holiday returned an interception 66 yards for a score at the start of the fourth quarter.
And a fumble recovery by Zevedeo Barela in the fourth quarter led to a field goal and the final score.
Just as important, the second of Holiday’s three interceptions came at his team’s 1-yard line, blunting an Oceanside scoring attempt with the score 6-6.
Nate Ostrom’s fumble recovery came at the Mission Hills 20 with 30 seconds left in the half, costing Oceanside at least a field-goal try.
In addition, Oceanside was stuffed on a fourth and goal at the 1 in the third quarter with the score still a manageable deficit of 20-6.
Liuchan led that defensive charge.
“I’m frustrated as heck with the score,” said Carroll. “One of the interceptions was my fault because of a bad call, but we also threw into coverage too much.
“And we didn’t score from the one because I had us in a wrong formation against their defensive line.
“Bottom line, though, is that we have to do a better job of controlling, protecting the ball.”
Both teams have byes this week as do Top 10 teams Helix, San Pasqual, St. Augustine, Ramona and Carlsbad.
Oceanside comes out of the bye and plays at Carlsbad while Mission Hills hosts Escondido on Oct. 11.
“Lose like that, and you’d much rather play this week,” Carroll said.
The only Top 10 teams in action this Friday are Cathedral Catholic (at Morse), Eastlake (hosts Sweetwater) and Madison (hosts Mira Mesa).
“We have a ton of respect for Oceanside,” Liuchan said. “We’re both in the Open Division for the playoffs, so we might play them again.
“This might not be over.”