HUNTINGTON BEACH – Timmy Robinson stood near midfield late Friday, a wide smile beaming brightly enough on its own, to light up Ocean View Stadium.
"We made history,” the Seahawks' talented starting quarterback and linebacker said, the smile never leaving his face as steam rose from the top of his head and from every angle of his sweat-soaked body on a chilly night. “It's an incredible feeling."
It was a historical night on several counts for the Ocean View football program. First, by hosting Santa Ana Valley in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoffs, the Seahawks were playing their first postseason game at their on-campus stadium, which opened in September of 2003. It also was their first "home" playoff game since 1989. But the big first happened just two hours after kickoff: the school had captured its first-ever CIF playoff victory.
Ocean View trailed throughout the first half against Santa Ana Valley but rode a defensive shutout in the second half to come away with a 26-21 victory. The triumph sends the Seahawks into a quarterfinal matchup Nov. 25 against Beckman. The top-ranked Patriots cruised past Godinez, 42-7, Friday.
Moments after the momentous win, the Seahawks formed a massive huddle and jumped up and down on each other in wild celebration.
"This is what it's all about," Ocean View Coach Harold Eggers said as he pointed to the bouncing bubble of players. "One of the things you always worry about when you get to the playoffs is if the kids want to keep on playing. The teams that make great runs in the playoffs are the teams that want to keep playing. This team wants to keep playing. They showed that tonight."
Ocean View, the No. 2 team from the Golden West League and now 6-5, overcame one seven-point and two eight-point first-half deficits to defeat a Santa Ana Valley team that shared the Orange League title with Anaheim. The Seahawks took the lead for good with 2:47 left in the third quarter on a bruising nine-yard touchdown run by Travis Sparks-Jackson. From there, they rode their defense to move on in postseason play for the first time.
Once again, Ocean View showed that it's a second-half team.
"We called it, 'Hurricane Ocean View,' during our halftime talk," Eggers said. "We call it that because throughout the season, we have gone out and shut out teams in the third quarter to get back into a game. We've done that all year and the kids took it to heart again tonight."
Ocean View nearly came back last week to stun Segerstrom in the final week of Golden West League play. The Seahawks stormed back from a 31-10 halftime deficit to twice tie the score (31-31 and 38-38) in the second half, before losing on a pair of touchdowns in the final minute. Friday, they stymied Santa Ana Valley after the Falcons (6-5) had used a steady run game to a 21-19 halftime lead. They started shoring things up at the outset of the third quarter.
The Seahawks held Santa Ana Valley to three-and-out on the first possession of the second half. It marked the first time that the Falcons ran just three plays on an offensive series and the first time that they were forced to punt. On the Falcons’ second series of the half, Robinson laid back-to-back crushing hits on running back Alex Hernandez and the Falcons were forced to punt again. Sparks Jackson returned the punt 15 yards but was hit and fumbled but Seahawks' teammate Alex Hernandez was there for the recovery at the Santa Ana Valley 38-yard line. Senior running back Deandre Stevens gained 13 yards on first down but two plays later a holding call against the Seahawks put the ball back at the 33. Robinson then hit Colton Johnson with a 10-yard pass and on third-and-eight; Robinson went on a tackle-breaking run straight up the middle that netted nine yards and a first down at the 13. Two plays later, Sparks Jackson scored on a nine-yard run.
Christian Negrete's conversion made it 26-21 with 2:47 left in the quarter.
The Falcons had the ball three more times in the half but were shut down by the Seahawks. On a third-and-five play midway through the fourth quarter, Johnson, who also starts at defensive back for Ocean View, put a big hit on the Falcon's Alex Hernandez and Seahawks strong safety Elijah Nolasco-Blas finished the play by dragging Hernandez down for no gain. On fourth-down, Vince Aranda was stuffed for a five-yard loss by Sparks Jackson and Ocean View took possession at the Falcons' 36 with 4:15 remaining.
Santa Ana Valley got the ball back one last time at its own 38 with 1:57 left and without any time outs. Falcons quarterback Joe Mohr threw incomplete on first down, was harassed on second down by a host of Seahawks, led by defensive lineman Ben Sumner, and dropped for a three-yard loss, then threw incomplete again on third down. On fourth down, the snap from center sailed over Mohr's head. He chased down the loose ball but was forced to throw in the direction of offensive lineman Steven Durette who made the catch and was dragged down at the 25. The Falcons' were called for illegal participation and turned the ball over on downs to Ocean View with 58 seconds left.
The Seahawks ran out the clock.
"All year, we've been a third-quarter team," Ocean View offensive coordinator Eli Atol said. "Our defense did an outstanding job in the second half. We took control of the game and our offense moved the ball and chewed up the clock."
The difference in Santa Ana Valley's 21-19 lead at halftime was two blocked point-after attempts by the Falcons' Cesar Hernandez and a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Sparks-Jackson that was negated by an illegal-block call against the Seahawks.
Santa Ana Valley took advantage of the game's only turnover to score its first touchdown. Richard Vargas intercepted a Robinson pass that went off the hands of Johnson on the opening drive of the game, to give the Falcons possession at the Ocean View 32. Four plays later, Alex Hernandez scored on a five-yard run. The Seahawks countered right back when Sparks-Jackson juked the Falcons' Martin Paz and Cesar Hernandez at the line of scrimmage and took off on a 28-yard scoring run. Cesar Hernandez broke through to block the extra-point attempt to protect a 7-6 lead. A two-yard touchdown run by Alex Hernandez with 16 seconds left in the first quarter upped the lead to 14-6. It was on the ensuing kickoff that a 99-yard touchdown return by Sparks-Jackson was called back.
The Seahawks pulled to within 14-13 on a 33-yard scoring pass from Robinson to Johnson midway through the second quarter but the Falcons answered with an 18-yard touchdown run by Nick Chavez. Robinson struck again to get Ocean View on the scoreboard one more time before the half. Getting the Falcons to bite on a pump fake, he stepped back and placed a perfect pass into the arms of Reo Washington who scored on a 26-yard play. Cesar Hernandez's second blocked point-after kick left the score at 21-19.
"I couldn't be happier for these kids," Atol said of the win. "This has been a goal of ours since the beginning of the season. They have a lot to be proud of."
Other local CIF first-round playoff scores:
Huntington Beach 31, Loyola 21
The Oilers went to L.A. Valley College and knocked off the host Cubs. "It's a big win," Coach Eric Lo said after his team advanced to face Mission Viejo on Nov. 25. The Oilers (9-2) will host the second-ranked Diablos (9-2) who on Friday routed Long Beach Cabrillo, 51-22. Loyola, the second-place team from the Mission League, ends its season at 8-3.
Tesoro 16, Edison 14
Tesoro, the No. 3 team from the South Coast League, upset Sunset League champion Edison at Orange Coast College. The Chargers, who had a five-game win streak snapped, finished the year 8-3. The Titans (7-4) advance to face two-time defending Pac-5 champion and top-ranked Servite on Nov. 25.
East Valley Division
Ontario Christian 35, Brethren Christian 7
Brethren Christian, the No 2 team from the Academy League, ended its first season under head coach Pat McInally at 6-5 after falling to the Knights (8-2-1).