Ocean View football falls to Bell Gardens in CIF Division 14 quarterfinals
Ocean View coach Daniel Hernandez knew how crazy it sounded when he said it, but he said it anyway.
When he took over a football program that had won five games over the past two seasons, he came in talking about opportunity, and about playoffs.
High school journeys that began with an abbreviated season during the coronavirus pandemic were now dared to think bigger, and with a little luck, the Seahawks got their first taste of postseason play in four seasons and two coaches.
Despite jumping out to a two-touchdown lead, the Seahawks’ promising season came to an end with a 28-21 loss to visiting Bell Gardens on Friday in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 14 playoffs.
“I probably committed the cardinal sin as a coach,” Hernandez said. “Day one, I walked in and said we’re going to the playoffs, get in year one, and we’re going to try to get a championship.
“The reality is we’re two plays from probably winning this game and being in the semis. Can’t ask for more than that in year one.
Ocean View (6-6) first had to find belief. It learned to win during a 4-2 start, before running into a tough Pac 4 League schedule that asked the Seahawks to punch above their weight class.
The league’s automatic bids went to Laguna Beach and Westminster, which were placed in Division 7 and Division 11, respectively.
From the start of their season, the Seahawks showed themselves to be a team that wanted to keep the clock running and limit possessions. That complementary style of play had the Seahawks in good position to advance to the semifinals after two elongated drives ended in rushing touchdowns for William Pardue and Frankie Armenta.
Bell Gardens (7-5) began its second possession trailing 14-0 at the midway point of the second quarter, but the Lancers got back in it with big plays in the running game. Daniel Tovar burst through a hole for a 65-yard score to cut the lead in half.
Following an Ocean View punt, Gerardo Gutierrez used patience and vision on a 35-yard run to get the Lancers into the red zone. Tovar scored on a goal-line run shortly after. The two touchdown drives took a combined six plays.
A landslide of momentum favored Bell Gardens, which rattled off 28 unanswered points, courtesy of a four-touchdown performance by Tovar.
Ivan Barajas’ sack led to a fumble recovered by Jonathan Calderon, which the Lancers converted into points. Bell Gardens then recovered an onside kick, a 19-yard rushing touchdown by Tovar capping the rally.
Armenta found Gaige Prichard breaking toward the right pylon for a 6-yard touchdown with 4:48 left, but after the Seahawks got a stop on the first defensive series thereafter, the punt was muffed. It left Ocean View just a minute, and significantly more field to cover, to get the tying score after the defense responded once more.
“We really reshaped Ocean View football,” said Jayden Trujillo of the turnaround the program saw this year. The senior defensive lineman was a stopper in the run game, and he was also the team’s leading rusher with 68 yards in the contest.
Ocean View beat Bolsa Grande 35-28 in the first round.
Armenta said there was anticipation around campus for football games this year.
“I think they’re all excited because they all saw change,” Armenta said. “Everyone knew we [had] changed. From last year to this year was a big change.”
CIF Southern Section Division 14 playoffs
Bell Gardens 28, Ocean View 21
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bell Gardens 0 - 14 - 7 - 7 — 28
Ocean View 7 - 7 - 0 - 7 — 21
OV — Pardue 11 run (Ortiz kick), 5:21.
OV — Armenta 1 run (Ortiz kick), 6:33.
BG — Tovar 65 run (Lamas kick), 5:51.
BG — Tovar 2 run (Lamas kick), 2:28.
BG — Tovar 4 run (Lamas kick), 0:44.
BG — Tovar 19 run (Lamas kick), 11:56.
BG — Tovar, 18-140, 4 TDs.
OV — Trujillo, 18-68; Pardue, 12-40, 1 TD; Armenta, 8-36, 1 TD.
BG — Reyes, 5-7-0, 90.
OV — Armenta, 9-20-2, 159, 1 TD.
BG — Gutierrez, 2-65.
OV — Lozano, 5-88; Ortiz, 2-45; Prichard, 2-26, 1 TD.
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