Marina football rallies late, falls short to Elsinore
In a matter of 24 minutes of game clock, the outlook of the season for the Marina High School football team appeared to take a dramatic turn for the better.
The Vikings did not pick up their first win of the season in their home opener on Thursday, but Marina coach Jeff Turley saw his team answer the bell after halftime.
A second-half rally fell just short for Marina, which lost to Wildomar Elsinore 30-28 in a nonleague game at Boswell Field.
Marina (0-3), which had gone scoreless in the first half, trailed by its largest margin of 30-14 with 10:59 remaining. The Vikings would not go away, though, making all the necessary plays to get back in the contest.
“I’m so proud of the second half of football that they played,” Turley said. “If we can come out and play a whole game like that, then we’ll be right back up to the form that we’ve been the last two years, but we still need to eliminate mental mistakes.”
The fourth quarter had opened with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Semaj Moore to Matthew Hodges. It took the Vikings just two plays and 53 seconds to respond when Brock Beaver dropped a pass in the bucket to Aiden O’Callaghan for a 54-yard touchdown to make it 30-20.
Needing a defensive stop, the Vikings got it on a fourth-and-one play on the first series of the drive that followed for Elsinore (2-1). Camden Hames recovered a fumble after the ball was jarred loose from Julian Santoyo.
Beaver then went back to O’Callaghan for the third touchdown of the night featuring the duo. The eight-yard strike in the right corner of the end zone cut the Tigers’ lead to two points after a pass to Luke Lastra resulted in a successful two-point conversion.
“I like when people press me because I like getting off the press a lot, and they were pressing me most of the time,” O’Callaghan said.
Elsinore got the ball as far as the Marina 24 on its next possession, but the Tigers had a touchdown called back on a penalty after Hodges had appeared to score his third touchdown of the game.
Instead, the Vikings got tackles behind the line of scrimmage from Cade Jackman and Micah Asato, leading to a sack by Grant Brenton and Hames on fourth down. Elsinore had a chance to put the game away on the third-down play, but Moore underthrew Santoyo, who was running free in the middle of the field near the goal line.
Marina had the ball back with just over three minutes remaining. In short order, the Vikings had moved the ball to the Elsinore 40. Beaver then found Rune Mickelson along the right sideline, but Caleb Brady popped the ball free. The play was ruled a completed pass and a fumble, which Hodges jumped on with 2:24 to go.
“We’re all very young and inexperienced, so I think over the past three games that we’ve all become more adapted to the varsity play style and the speed and everything,” Beaver said. “I think as we go on, go into league, we’re going to perform much better.”
Beaver threw for 278 yards and four touchdowns. O’Callaghan finished with four catches for 90 yards. Bo Green made eight grabs for 72 yards, and Dominic Harvey produced 110 total yards.
After securing five catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns, recovering the late fumble topped them all for Hodges.
“[Brady] hit [Mickelson] real hard, so he did the job for me,” Hodges said. “I didn’t have to do much on that.”
Donovan Harvey turned 15 carries into 160 yards for Elsinore. He also returned a kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown.
“Definitely a long bus ride, and normally when you get bus rides like that, … we have to win or else this trip was for nothing,” Harvey said. “Anything long, and honestly, it just puts us in a different mentality.”
SCORE BY QUARTER
Elsinore 7 – 2 – 14 – 7 – 30
Marina 0 – 0 – 14 – 14 – 28
E – Hodges 37 pass from Moore (Sprague kick), 5:34.
E – Safety (Brady tackle in end zone), 4:56.
M – O’Callaghan 11 pass from Beaver (Lastra kick), 7:20.
E – Harvey 82 kick return (Sprague kick), 7:07.
M – Lastra 7 pass from Beaver (Lastra kick), 4:04.
E – Moore 1 run (Sprague kick), 1:50.
E – Hodges 13 pass from Moore (Sprague kick), 10:59.
M – O’Callaghan 54 pass from Beaver (Beaver pass failed), 10:06.
M – O’Callaghan 8 pass from Beaver (Lastra pass from Beaver), 5:29.
E – Don. Harvey, 15-160.
M – Dom. Harvey, 19-71.
E – Moore, 5-11-0, 114, 2 TDs.
M – Beaver, 24-35-1, 278, 4 TDs.
E – Hodges, 5-114, 2 TDs.
M – O’Callaghan, 4-90, 3 TDs.
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