THE PREPS : Big Defensive Plays Lift Huntington Beach

Touchdowns on a blocked punt and a fumble return were the keys to Huntington Beach High School’s second-half rally as the Oilers overcame a 10-0 halftime deficit to defeat winless Marina, 21-10, Thursday at Westminster High School.

Huntington Beach is 2-5, 1-1 in the Sunset League. Marina is 0-7 and 0-2.

Brent Uffelman got what Oiler Coach George Pascoe called a “double thud” on Viking punter Eddie Rhea early in the third quarter, blocking the kick into the end zone. Jason Gonsalves recovered to give Huntington Beach points and momentum.

“We work for double thuds,” Pascoe said. “They get the kids excited. It plugs us in.”


On the second play of the fourth quarter, the Oilers took the lead for good when Eric Pettinato hit Mark Little with a 26-yard touchdown pass. The 51-yard, 5-play drive came after Huntington Beach held Marina on a fourth and 1 at midfield.

Late in the game, Oiler Doug Cunningham clinched the victory with a 52-yard fumble return for a touchdown. When running back Stacy Kagasoff lost the ball, Cunningham picked it off in midair, made a sharp cut to elude Marina tacklers and went untouched into the end zone.

“We’re right back in the hunt,” Pascoe said. “No one will go through this league undefeated.”