Mt. Carmel’s Davion Fuller, who gained 146 yards on 23 carries, runs for a second-quarter touchdown in the Sundevils’ triumph over San Marcos. Bill Wechter
Final score: Mt. Carmel 31, San Marcos 28.
Key plays: San Marcos was driving for a potential game-winning touchdown with under three minutes remaining Friday night at Mt. Carmel High when the Knights fumbled for the fourth time in the game. The Sundevils’ Brian Cate recovered and Mt. Carmel ran out the clock for the Valley League win. Three turnovers by San Marcos (6-3, 3-1) in the second quarter — two fumbles and an interception by Mt. Carmel’s Tobe Ezeokoli — helped the Sundevils (6-3, 3-0) to a 31-21 halftime lead. With the Knights trailing 31-28 late in the third quarter, San Marcos QB/K James Harwell was short on a 31-yard field goal attempt that appeared to be tipped.
Key stats: Mt. Carmel RB Davion Fuller rushed 23 times for 146 yards and two touchdowns. San Marcos WR Isiah Hennie had eight receptions (including a pair of 53-yarders in the first quarter) for 177 yards and carried five times for 86 yards, including a 70-yard reverse for a TD.
Hope floats: It was Homecoming night at Mt. Carmel, with the theme “A Pixar Perfect Night.” The Class of 2014 float based on the movie “Up” received far more cheers — for impressively painted house and balloons, no doubt — than those by the Class of 2015 (“Finding Nemo”), Class of 2016 (“Wall-e”) and Class of 2017 (“Toy Story”). Still haven’t seen anything to top the Class of 1955’s “Enchantment Under the Sea,” however.
Quotable: Asked for a halftime assessment of the situation, Mt. Carmel homecoming queen Sydney Dong said, “Let me put on my glasses,” glanced at the scoreboard, and added “I think we’ll do OK. We’ll find out.” Homecoming king Allen Golditch was more definitive, saying, “We’re going to win this football game and tomorrow is going to be an awesome Homecoming dance.”
Quotable, too: Mt. Carmel coach John Anderson gathered his team together after the game and said, “You guys took a great step forward. ... We aren’t league champs yet. We’ve got a share of it. I respect them (motioning toward the San Marcos sideline), but I don’t want to be tied with them.” Mt. Carmel can win its first outright league title since 1994 next week with a victory over Del Norte.
Injury report: San Marcos lost running back Andrew Alaniz late in the first half with a left leg injury.
Courting favor: It’s common to see a few football players in sweaty, grass-stained uniforms among the tuxes and pretty dresses in the Homecoming court. But Sundevils sophomore RB Kevin Benavente was the only player to represent. “Maybe it tells you how much these kids are focused on football this year and putting their social life on hold,” said Anderson.
Rare talent: San Marcos senior Hennie became the county’s second receiver this season to reach the 1,000-yard plateau. He now has 61 receptions for 1,140 yards. San Marcos head coach Jason Texler used the words “dynamic” and “explosive” to describe Hennie, saying “he’s got a chance to go everytime he’s got the football in his hands. And he’s as smart as they come football-wise.”
Quite a pair: Harwell eclipsed 1,000 yards passing with 236 yards against the Sundevils, giving him 1,036 yards. It gives the Knights the rare distinction of two 1,000-yard passers this season. Will Freed passed for 1,271 yards before breaking his jaw against Escondido in the season’s fourth game. Freed is expected to be healthy in a week, creating an intriguing dilemma for Texler.
Bright future: Ezeokoli, a senior lockdown corner for the Sundevils, is still considering his college options. It sounds like things will work out regardless what he decides. “Tobe will play in the Ivy League if he wants to,” said Anderson. “He’s been offered by Harvard and Penn.”
No free lunch — or dinner: Mmmmm, pizza. Sundevil slices look and taste suspiciously similar to Costco slices. No matter. Slice of cheese earned four belches on our five-belch scale. Noticed a sign outside concession stand which read, “This student run Snack Bar does not give away any food for free. Everyone pays. The Principal pays. The Athletic Director pays. The football coaches pay. ...” So I paid.