Huntington Beach lets one slip away in 29-19 loss to San Juan Hills

One week Huntington Beach High survives overtime, and the next, it cannot hold on in the final minutes of a nonleague football game.

The Oilers let one get away at home on Friday. Huntington Beach’s 12-point lead in the fourth quarter did not hold up.


San Juan Hills scored 22 points in the final 10 minutes. The Stallions returned to Cap Sheue Field for the second time in as many weeks, and this time, they rallied for 29-19 win on the road.

For a second, it seemed as though Huntington Beach was about to upset the No. 8-ranked team in the CIF Southern Section Division 4 poll and win its second straight down-to-the wire game.


“We had it,” Huntington Beach coach Brett Brown said.

His Oilers (1-4) were that close to stunning San Juan Hills (3-2).

The defense stopped San Juan Hills on fourth-and-seven inside the Oilers’ 30-yard line, but a defensive pass interference penalty kept the Stallions drive alive with less than four minutes left.

The Stallions, down five at the time, finished the drive right away. Two plays later, Matt Rodriguez threw a go-ahead, 19-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Collins. Rodriguez’s two-point conversion pass to Travis Lau gave San Juan Hills a 22-19 lead with about 3½ minutes to go.

The Oilers turned to Arick McLawyer, the versatile threat, to lead a comeback. He was the one who got the offense going after the first quarter.

But Matt Barrows ended Huntington Beach’s hopes, picking off a pass and setting up the Stallions on the Oilers’ 40-yard line with about two minutes remaining. Huntington Beach would allow its third touchdown in the fourth quarter. Chase Monarch’s 37-yard run sealed the Stallions’ victory at the 1:38 mark.

The Oilers missed a chance to enter their bye week with a lot of momentum. A week after blocking an extra-point kick in overtime to edge host Long Beach Wilson 29-28, Huntington Beach now has to get ready for Sunset League play.

Huntington Beach opens with defending league champion Edison on Oct. 5. The Oilers have lost to Edison in each of the last seven years.

They’re going to have to score more than 19 points to keep up with the Chargers.

Not once did Huntington Beach move the chains in the opening quarter against San Juan Hills. Looking for a spark, the Oilers switched their offense, going to the Wildcat.

In came McLawyer at quarterback, replacing freshman Jacob Hanlon, and he gave the offense some life in the second quarter. His running ability gave San Juan Hills issues, and so did Jeremiah Flanagan.

McLawyer threw a six-yard touchdown and ran for a 21-yard touchdown, while Flanagan caught McLawyer’s touchdown pass and returned an interception 54 yards for a touchdown. The two juniors put Huntington Beach up 19-7.

Penalties by San Juan Hills kept the Oilers in it in the first quarter. The Stallions committed five penalties in the first 12 minutes, the biggest, a 15-yard facemask penalty nullified Rodriguez’s 39-yard touchdown pass to Collins with about 2½ minutes left.

Fifty-eight seconds later, it was Huntington Beach almost scoring the game’s first points. Flanagan picked off Rodriguez inside the Oilers’ 35-yard line, and he raced to his right, toward the sideline and appeared on his way to a pick-six. But Flanagan’s 64-yard return came up four yards shy of the end zone.

The Oilers offense couldn’t score either. The Stallions stuffed a McLawyer jet sweep to the right for a three-yard loss, and then Lau jumped a slant on the left and intercepted Hanlon’s pass on the three.

The opening quarter finished with zero points.

The next quarter featured three touchdowns, the first two belonging to one player from Huntington Beach, and he wore No. 1.

The ground game set up the first of two scores by Flanagan. The Oilers brought McLawyer in right after Hanlon threw a one-yard pass to McLawyer.

Nine of the next 11 plays were runs, almost half by Caleb Webb, who finished with 14 carries for 82 yards. He rushed six times for 45 yards on the drive.

Once the Stallions stopped the senior three yards behind the line of scrimmage, setting up second-and-goal on the six, McLawyer went to the air for the second time. He threw a fade into the end zone for Flanagan and the 6-foot-4 receiver hauled it in at the 2:42 mark.

Huntington Beach struck first for the second straight week. And 53 seconds after his first score, Flanagan found himself in the end zone again.

Rodriguez’s screen pass to the right was bobbled, and the ball landed in Flanagan’s hands. This time, on his second interception, Flanagan took it the distance, returning it 54 yards for a touchdown. The Oilers took a 13-0 lead.

The Stallions managed to cut the deficit with 11 seconds left in the first half. After going to Lau on three passes, all moving the chains and getting the offense to Huntington Beach’s five-yard line, Rodriguez went to Lau again. Rodriguez, who completed 23 of 35 passes for 267 yards, threw a five-yard touchdown to Lau, who finished with 10 catches for 111 yards.

San Juan Hills closed the first half strong, not as strong as the second half. The Stallions rebounded after losing to Edison 28-0 on the same field last week.

“They’re going to keep fighting,” said San Juan Hills coach said Aaron Flowers, whose Stallions ended a two-game losing streak.

San Juan Hills 29, Huntington Beach 19

San Juan Hills………………..0 7 0 22 — 29

Huntington Beach………….0 13 6 0 — 19


HB – Flanagan 6 pass from McLawyer (Reed kick), 2:42.

HB – Flanagan 54 INT return (kick failed), 1:49.

SJH – Lau 5 pass from Rodriguez (Watson kick), :11.


HB – McLawyer 21 run (run failed), 4:52.


SJH – Rodriguez 1 run (Watson kick), 9:40

SJH – Collins 19 pass from Rodriguez (Lau pass from Rodriguez), 3:29.

SJH – Monarch 37 run (Watson kick), 1:38


SJH – Monarch, 15-69, 1 TD.

HB – Webb, 14-82.


SJH – Rodriguez, 23-35-2, 267, 2 TDs.

HB – McLawyer, 2-3-1, 17, 1 TD.


SJH – Lau, 10-111, 1 TD.

HB – Flanagan, 2-21, 1 TD.