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Playoff heavyweights trade blows

11/22/2014, 12:05am PST
By John Maffei

Mission Hills, Eastlake swap big plays and long drives before Grizzlies finally prevail

Mission Hills quarterback Dakota Miller runs for a touchdown past Eastlake’s Greg Raby and Santiago Andujo during the first half.

— It was a case of the high-flying Mission Hills offense vs. Eastlake’s ground-and-pound, wing-T, fly-sweep attack.

And Mission Hills had trouble stopping the Titans until Eastlake, playing from behind, was forced to pass.

The result was a hard-fought 38-27 Mission Hills win in the San Diego Section Open Division quarterfinals.

The teams were playing for the first time since the 2012 section Division I championship won by Eastlake 21-14.

Mission Hills (9-2) advances to the semifinals to play top-seeded Oceanside (11-0).

Eastlake’s season ends at 7-4.

Eastlake ran 70 plays, 59 of those rushes, 28 by Isaiah Strayhorn, who finished with 176 yards.

Greg Bell added 13 carries for 114 yards.

Mission Hills ran 47 plays and gained 368 yards — 184 rushing, 184 passing.

But it was the Grizzlies’ ability to hit the big play that won the game.

Mission Hills scored on a 56-yard pass from Dakota Miller to Martrel Holmes, a 90-yard punt return by Holmes, and a 23-yard run by Miller.

“Winning this game against a great team is a major accomplishment,” said Mission Hills coach Chris Hauser.

“Eastlake does something we don’t see often — run the ball with three great runners and pound on you.”

Mission Hills struck first with Miller hitting Holmes on a slant pass that went 56 yards for a score.

The Mission Hills defense forced a punt and Holmes struck again, fielding the kick on the 10 and going untouched 90 yards down the right side for a TD.

Eastlake struck back, driving 80 yards on 13 plays with Dean Klaser scoring on a 6-yard TD run.

After Mission Hills went four-and-out, the Titans put together an 11-play, 62-yard drive with Strayhorn going the final yard.

Mission Hills put together its own drive, going 72 yards on nine plays. Miller went the final 23 after a brilliant run fake.

Eastlake had a final chance before the half, driving to the Mission Hills 8. On fourth down, the Titans lined up for a field goal, but faked it. Kicker Aeden Johnson’s pass was intercepted by Justus Te’i.

Eastlake tied it at 21 on Bell’s 58-yard TD sprint.

Mission Hills answered with an eight-play, 67-yard drive with Will Stricklin going the last yard.

The Grizzlies got a 42-yard field goal by Eric Cabataio to make in 31-21, but Eastlake wasn’t finished.

The Titans put together an 80-yard drive on 13 plays with Klaser scoring from a yard out.

Mission Hills put the game away with 2:30 to go when Miller hit Dechaun Holiday with a 10-yard pass.

“This is the type of game we expected,” Miller said. “It was like we had to score on every possession.”

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