Well the big game has finally arrived, and even though it’s being nationally televised, there’s a good chance it’s not going to be on in your home (Comcast isn’t making any new friends this week). So we’re going to try something new for the EB Prep Sports Blog: I’m camped out here in a little corner of the Owen Owens Field press box where I plan to provide game updates and insights as the game unfolds.
As the pregame and game action unfolds, I will continue to update this posting on a fairly regular basis (especially after scoring plays) . Your only responsibility: Occasionally click the ‘refresh’ button on your browser to make sure you’re getting the most up-to-date entry. New updates will appear at the bottom of the post.
So, as judge and boxing referee Mills Lane would say, "Let’s get it on!"
6:58 p.m.: The stands are already at full capacity, and have been since De La Salle writer Curtis Pashelka and myself arrived at roughly 6:10. As we arrived to pick up our press passes, a sign was posted at the front of the school that read, "A ticket does not guarantee a seat." Needless to say it’s a standing-room affair at Owen Owens Field tonight.
Both teams are already on the field going through pregame warmups. DLS is wearing its usual home uniforms, dark green tops with silver pants, and MV is sporting colors reminiscent of Arizona State. The Diablos are wearing white jerseys with red numbers and white pants. Their helmets are a dark ASU-like yellow with a big red ‘M’ on the side.
7:10 p.m.: Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re aware of the magnitude of this game. But just in case, here are the basics: DLS enters the game as the No. 1 team in the state and Mission Viejo is No. 5. It’s the third meeting in the past three years between the schools, and the Spartans are still looking for their first victory. Mission Viejo won 17-14 at De La Salle in 2004, and 36-26 when DLS traveled to Orange County last season. As the state’s top team, the Spartans are favored, though both teams are trying to play up the role as underdog.
7:22: p.m.: There are rumblings that ESPNU’s current broadcast of the Central Michigan-Toledo college football game could go long and cause the start of the game to be delayed. Or, ESPN could simply cut away from that game, upset the five midwestern households who are watching the CM-Toledo game, and get this game started on time. Just a thought. As of now, the kickoff is still slated for 7:35.
7:29 p.m.: Times DLS writer Curtis Pashelka just finished his pregame radio interview with KDIA 1640 AM. In what could only be described as polished performance, Curtis pointed to the DLS running game as being the key to the Spartans success. Ball control, ball control, ball control. The Spartans just took the field to a roar from the crowd. Kickoff is still expected for 7:35
7:31 p.m.: De La Salle has won the toss and elected to receive.
7:45 p.m.: DLS Touchdown! The Spartans took the opening kickoff and drove 63 yards on seven plays (All but eight yards on the ground). Tillman Pugh capped the drive with a 19-yard TD run. It’s 7-0 with 8:57 left in the first quarter.
7:48 p.m.: Wow! That didn’t take long. Can you say 14-0? After holding MV to a quick three-and-out, DLS is back on the board after a Tim Maupin 32-yard touchdown run. Maupin now has four carries for 58 yards. I’d say the ground game is working for the Spartans. (Nice call, Curtis).
7:53 p.m.: The Diablos might have just caught their first break as the Spartans kickoff went out of bounds and allows MV to begin their drive at the 35-yard line. Two complete passes and the Diablos are now in DLS territory.
8:01 p.m.: Mission Viejo is on the board. The Diablos turned to the pass to get inside the Spartans 40 yard line, and then Brian Lockridge burned the DLS defense with a 38-yard TD run. It’s 14-7 Spartans with 4:32 left in the opening quarter.
8:08 p.m.: Uh-oh. The fumbleitis bug has bit the Spartans again. Tillman Pugh, who fumbled inside the opponent 10-yard line last week, just did so again. An impressive 50-yard drive ends at the MV 2-yard line as Pugh had the ball pop out and the Diablos recovered…End of the first quarter, 14-7 De La Salle.
8:20 p.m.: After the Spartans defense forced the Diablos to punt, great field position for DLS was spoiled with another turnover. This time an interception on a tipped ball. But once again, the Spartans make sure it doesn’t hurt. Mission Viejo will punt again.
8:30 p.m.: DLS continues to ride Tim Maupin, and why not? The bruising back just keeps churning up yards. And when he’s not, he’s throwing a key block to spring Tillman Pugh who rumbled 35 yards for a TD. Unfortunately, the score was brought back by a holding penalty. The Spartans certainly haven’t helped themselves inside MV territory.
8:32 p.m.: When in doubt, give it back to Maupin. The senior RB just rumbled 15 yards for his second TD of the night and DLS is up 21-7 with 5:05 left in the half.
8:37 p.m.: The Diablos certainly responded in a hurry. MV goes 80 yards in 62 seconds and scores on a 9-yard pass from Kyle Kirchmeyer to Warren Reuland. It’s 21-14 DLS with just over four minutes to play in the half.
8:41 p.m.: And the hits keep on comin’ for DLS. Yet another turnover as MV earned another interception on a tipped ball. Kameron Krebs came up with the pick, and the Diablos take over at their own 37.
8:44 p.m.: Once again the Spartans’ turnover doesn’t cost them. MV goes three-and-out and DLS regains possession with 1:50 left in the half.
8:49 p.m.: DLS is unable to mount a quick drive, and eventually takes a knee to bring the first half to an end. We’re at halftime with the score 21-14 in favor of DLS.
8:54 p.m.: Some quick halftime thoughts — The Spartans made plenty of mistakes in the first half. But despite three turnovers and two TDs nullified by penalty, they still go into the intermission with a seven-point advantage. That should make DLS fans feel pretty good. The Spartans also outgained the Diablos 244-161. Maupin finished the half with 103 yards on 11 carries. I’m thinking he’s going to see the ball some more in the second half.
9:15 p.m.: Halftime has come to a close, and before we get to the second half, here’s one more eye-popping stat from the first half: DLS had 15 first downs, to just six for MV. Should the Spartans eliminate their mistakes, the could very well runaway with things in the second half. We shall see. The Diablos can set the tone; they will receive to open the third quarter.
9:29 p.m.: Ummm, about that setting that tone, well Bryon Colbert, Maupin and Pugh made sure nothing of the sort happened for the Diablos. A good MV drive ended in a Colbert interception and then Maupin and Pugh led the Spartans on a 79-yard drive. Pugh rambled in from 29 yards out to put DLS up 28-14 with 4:23 left in the third quarter.
9:42 p.m.: It’s dueling turnovers suddenly as Kirchmeyer throws another interception, and then DLS loses a fumble inside the Diablos’ 5-yard line for the second time in the game. Less than a minute left in the third quarter.
10:05 p.m.: Both teams have traded TDs. Pugh put DLS up 35-14 with 6:43 left in the game, but MV came back with an 80-yard drive behind back up quarterback Allan Bridgeford. Bridgeford threw a 3-yard TD pass to John Hunt and its 35-21 with 3:35 to play.
10:31 p.m: Despite another strong drive led by Bridgeford that closed the score to 35-28 with two seconds to go, DLS managed to hold on and earn the victory.