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THE BIG GAME : Oceanside’s Late Run Topples Castle Park

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Anyone seeing the Oceanside Pirates run their offense in the first half wouldn’t have given them much of a chance to cross midfield, much less score a point.

The Pirates could only muster one first down and five total yards.

But after completing just three of 12 passes the first half, Oceanside quarterback John Portugal led the Pirates to a 18-17 comeback victory over Castle Park Friday night in a nonleague game.

Portugal’s 31-yard touchdown pass to Carl Mathis brought Oceanside (2-0) to within 17-16 with 35 seconds remaining. He then found Brian McGehee open for the winning two-point conversion.

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“The guy lined up with me and then just left me,” McGehee said. “I think they were confused.”

Castle Park also seemed confused on Mathis’ touchdown pass. He caught the ball at the Castle Park 30 and ran untouched through the Trojans’ secondary.

“Once they threw me the ball I had three guys blocking in front of me,” he said. “I couldn’t help but score.”

McGehee caught two screen passes for 28 yards in Oceanside’s game-winning 60-yard drive and returned a Castle Park punt 20 yards that set up the drive.

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“The screen was there in the first half, I just couldn’t hit anybody,” Portugal said.

Castle Park (1-1) took a 17-10 lead with eight minutes remaining on Chris Arnce’s 33-yard field goal. The Trojans lead appeared to be secure after Oceanside failed to convert on a fourth-down play with 6:30 left in the game.

But Oceanside got the ball back after Castle Park’s drive stalled with two minutes left.

After trailing 14-0 in the first half, Portugal caught fire in the third quarter. In the Pirates’ 70-yard scoring drive to open the third quarter, he completed five of six passes for 52 yards, including a seven-yard touchdown pass to Chris Warner that cut Castle Park’s lead to 14-7.

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Oceanside cut the lead to 14-10 on a Brian McGehee 39-yard field goal with 11 seconds left in the third quarter. Castle Park Coach Alan Duke thought kick was missed.

“I had 11 guys on the field that say the field goal wasn’t any good,” Duke said.

In the first half, Oceanside never got untracked.

Every time Portugal dropped back to pass, a Castle Park player was in his face. He was sacked four times for minus 16 yards and fumbled twice.

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The Pirates’ running game was even more pathetic. Two rushes netted minus 11 yards.

Castle Park running back Anthony Davis rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns in 16 carries. But he carried three times in the second half before leaving the game with back spasms.

Davis scored his first touchdown two minutes and 40 seconds into the game on a two-yard run. The touchdown was set up by Danny Quilantang’s 62-yard return of the opening kickoff.

Castle Park took a 14-0 lead 18 seconds into the second quarter on a Davis four-yard run.

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