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Up-down El Camino is back up

11/27/2015, 11:14pm PST
By Rick Hoff

Wildcats to face crosstown rival Oceanside for Division I title

El Camino's Chris Brown scored on touchdown runs of 27 and 37 yards while rushing for 134 yards on 13 carries Friday night.

For the second straight year, the El Camino High football team ended Steele Canyon’s season in the playoffs.

The one-two punch of Chris Brown and Aris Jackson combined to lift the Wildcats to a 28-18 victory over the Cougars in a CIF Division I semifinal clash Friday night at Herb Meyer Stadium. Brown scored on touchdown runs of 27 and 37 yards while rushing for 134 yards on 13 carries, and Jackson scored on a 14-yard touchdown reception in addition to rushing for 106 yards on 17 attempts.

No. 3 seed El Camino (7-5) now advances to the Division I finals next Friday at Southwestern College against crosstown rival and top seed Oceanside, a 28-24 winner over Point Loma in Friday’s other semifinal.

No. 7 seed Steele Canyon finishes the season at 8-5. Friday’s game was a rematch of last year’s Division I quarterfinal won by the Wildcats, 33-31.

El Camino has had a roller-coaster season under second-year coach John Roberts, winning the first five games before losing the next five straight to finish the regular season at 5-5.

“We have certainly had our share of ups and downs this year,” Roberts said before kickoff. “But our kids have worked real hard to get back to the semifinals.”

Following a first-round bye, the Wildcats recovered from its five-game losing streak with 14-10 win over Torrey Pines last week in the quarterfinals to advance to their second straight Division I semifinal appearance.

El Camino was the first to get on the scoreboard when the Wildcats converted their second offensive possession into a nine-play, 84-yard drive which resulted in a 14-yard scoring pass from Beau Gallegos to Jackson on a swing route out of the backfield with 1:29 remaining in the first period.

Following a punt by the Wildcats, the Cougars tied the score with a drive ignited by a 48-yard run up the middle by Pierre Alexander on the first play of the series. Four plays later, quarterback Thomas Fishburne took a keeper around right end for a 12-yard touchdown run that tied the score with 5:44 left in the second quarter.

A 33-yard return by Wayne Steward on the ensuing kickoff sparked the Wildcats’ next series, which began with a 16-yard run by Brown and ended five plays later with a 27-yard scoring romp by Brown over the left side with 3:07 left in the first half. Brown’s TD run came one play after Gallegos scrambled for 16 yards on fourth down from the Steele Canyon 43-yard line.

Steele Canyon began the second half with a time-consuming drive that led to a 30-yard field goal by Alexander Raya, but the Cougars came up empty on their next two possessions. When Brown rambled 37 yards for his second TD of the night following a personal foul penalty on Steele Canyon, the hosts had a 21-10 lead with 9:41 left in the fourth period.

A 1-yard TD run by Spencer Katoanga for El Camino countered a late 54-yard scoring pass from Fishburne to Ny Johnson for the Cougars.

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