Ocean View football edges rival Westminster for first outright league title in program history
Ocean View High School senior Connor Marsh can laugh about the one “B” grade he’s gotten in high school so far.
It came his sophomore year, in Advanced Placement World History.
“I worked really hard in high school to succeed as much as I could,” said Marsh, whose 4.66 cumulative grade-point average has him tied for second in Ocean View’s senior class of 2021.
Marsh had a big Friday.
First he found out that he was accepted to his dream school of Stanford University. Then later, he and the 16 other seniors on the Seahawks’ football team laced up their cleats for the final Pac 4 League football game of their careers.
Ocean View had to work for it, but earned a 14-13 home victory over rival Westminster, clinching the first outright league title in program history. Ocean View shared league titles in 1989 and 2018.
The Seahawks (3-2, 2-0 in league) won the “Battle of the Bugle” game over the Lions (0-4, 0-1) for the third straight year. In doing so, they finished out the short league campaign undefeated. The Pac 4 League is just a three-team league this spring, as Godinez opted not to play.
“This group’s special, in the sense that I don’t think anyone has ever spent as much time with their seniors, ever,” Ocean View coach Luis Nuñez said. “Our seniors usually are gone in November. We’ve held onto them, and we’re here in April. It’s a special group, man.”
Marsh didn’t play much until this year, but he has made the most of his opportunity. This was his second straight game with both a long touchdown run and an interception at outside linebacker on defense.
He also played a big role in Ocean View’s 28-21 comeback win at Laguna Beach last week in its league opener, with an 80-yard touchdown run along with a flea-flicker touchdown pass from Michael Da Rosa in the final minute to complete the comeback.
On Friday night, he added an 87-yard touchdown run.
“I thought that was a one-in-1,000 chance that it would happen again,” Marsh said. “But it was a good play, good handoff, good blocks and then it was just a speed race from there.”
Marcus Cianca’s 54-yard scamper for a score in the second quarter also helped the Seahawks earn a 14-0 halftime lead.
But Westminster, which blanked the hosts in the second half, would not go away.
“On paper, I guess you could say we were the better team,” Ocean View senior center and defensive end Connor Knobbe said. “But they have huge, big strong guys on their team. It was just a dogfight.”
Westminster’s Tadan Smith reached for the end zone and scored on a four-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter. The visitors then looked to draw even in the fourth quarter, after quarterback Isaac Amosa took things into his own hands on a 25-yard touchdown run with 5:28 left in the fourth quarter.
An Ocean View penalty on the extra-point attempt brought the ball closer to the end zone, and the Lions elected to go for two. Isaiah Perez ran right, but he was swallowed up by the Ocean View defense before he could give Westminster its first lead.
Ocean View got the ball back and was able to run out the clock, with Anthony “Chino” Ramirez ripping off a 43-yard run in the final two minutes after Westminster had already burned two of its timeouts. Ocean View was called for an illegal block on the play, but the first down was still gained prior to the penalty.
Ramirez, who had 22 carries but failed to reach 100 yards rushing, was bottled up for much of the game by a physical Westminster defensive line, and Ocean View senior running back Jonathan Gonzalez was banged up in the second half.
“Chino is special,” Nuñez said. “They really keyed on him all night. A lot of teams have. It’s a new offense, so it’s kind of hard to do the things we want to do, put more stuff in with such a short season … But he stuck with it, man.”
Marsh, who said he may have hyperextended his knee on a fourth-quarter run, led the Ocean View attack with 11 carries for 135 yards and a touchdown. Da Rosa had to attempt just two passes as the Seahawks kept things moving with their running attack.
Eric Torres, Hunter Arce, Luke Crabtree and Jeffrey Garcia all recorded tackles for a loss for Ocean View on defense.
Nuñez said he was proud of his group of players. In this coronavirus-impacted season, he said he had just 32 players in the program, and no lower-level teams.
"[Westminster] prepared their kids tonight,” he said. “Their kids were hitting hard and they did an amazing job … [and] we were falling apart. We crawled to the finish line, but we won.”
Ocean View closes out its season with a nonleague home game against Montclair next week.
Pac 4 League
Ocean View 14, Westminster 13
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Westminster 0 – 0 – 7 – 6 – 13
Ocean View 7 – 7 – 0 – 0 – 14
OV – Marsh 87 run (Barreto kick), 0:02.
OV – Cianca 54 run (Barreto kick), 8:50.
W - Smith 4 run (Avala kick), 6:31.
W – Amosa 25 run (run failed), 5:28.
W – Amosa, 15-119, 1 TD.
OV – Marsh, 11-135, 1 TD.
W – Harris, 2-5-1, 34.
OV – Da Rosa, 0-2-0, 0.
W – Molina, 2-29.
OV – None.
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