Lincoln (6-4) gained the No. 4 seed in Div. III playoffs based largely on its 19-14 victory over the Pointers in a Week 3 non-league match. With the top four (of 12 total) seeds receiving a first-round bye in the playoffs, that meant the No. 5 seed Pointers (8-3) missed out on an opportunity for a week of rest Nov. 9.
The Pointer-Hornet game earlier this season was played at Lincoln’s Vic Player Stadium, but the rematch should be very different.
For starters, San Diego was in the midst of a Santa Ana weather condition during the last showdown, and the temperature at kickoff was still hovering near 100 degrees. But the Pointers remember the game for another reason: they committed six turnovers.
“When you put the ball on the ground six times and still only lose by five points, [looking ahead,] we should be alright,” Pointer head coach Mike Hastings said. “We just have to play better and not turn it over so much.”
Colder fall temperatures and much-improved ball security may help the Dogs turn the tables on the Hornets.
On Nov. 9, the Pointers were largely unstoppable as they made quick work of the No. 12 seed Centurions at the Centurions’ beautiful, well-lit new stadium, dedicated less than two months ago.
After their first possession ended with a missed field goal, the Pointers, using lengthy runs by Dirk Lacy and Jamal Agnew, took the ball to the UC 12, where Sydney Rush covered the final yards to give the Dogs a leg up and 7-0 lead.
With their defense struggling in the early going, the Pointers allowed the Centurions to move to the PLHS 3-yard line before digging in. A 25-yard field goal brought the hosts to within four points at 7-3.
The Dogs responded on their next possession early in the second quarter with a 43-yard pass from Branden Martin to Agnew, taking the Pointers to the UC one. On the next play, Martin snuck in for a 14-3 Dog advantage.
The Centurions were able to move again after the kickoff, but Pointer Grant Wilburn intercepted a pass in the end zone to thwart the drive and put the Pointers in the position of taking over on their own 20.
The Pointers cashed in an 80-yard drive when another Martin-Agnew pass caught the Centurion defense napping for a 30-yard touchdown completion and 21-3 Pointer lead at the break.
Midway through the third quarter, the Pointers mounted another 80-yard drive for their fourth score. A long run by Lacy and a first-down scramble by Martin keyed the drive.
The Centurions, clearly struggling with a 28-3 deficit, elected to attempt a fourth-down conversion from their own 40-yard line. Not only did the Pointer defense hold, but on the Dogs’ first offensive play, Martin scrambled 42 yards on a keeper, building the lead to 35-3.
UC went to work again, but Agnew intercepted a pass attempt to kill that drive.
With several backup players in the lineup, Martin led his team to a final score. His 22-yard keeper with just over eight minutes remaining gave the Pointers a 39-point lead, forcing game officials to use a running clock until time expired.
“I think our kids came out tonight firing on all cylinders,” Hastings said after the game.
On the night, the Pointers amassed 462 yards of offense, 370 of it on the ground. Lacy had 17 carries for
126 yards, while Martin (six for 87) and Ja’Markus Watkins (five for 67) led a group of eight that included junior varsity runner Romeo Epperley’s first varsity carry as time expired.
Martin completed four of six passes for 92 yards.
Defensively, Greg Verdugo (nine tackles) led the Pointers, with big numbers also from Zach Eischen (8), Dan O’Beirne (5) and Tanner Manion, Agnew and Wilburn with four.
Pedro Da Silva registered two sacks and Verdugo had one.
MADISON 28, POINT LOMA 14
The Pointers fell short in their league title showdown with Madison on
Despite rolling up 341 yards of offense, the speed and big pass plays by the Warhawks derailed the Dogs’ plans for another league crown.
After stalling a Madison drive at their own two-yard line to open the game, the Pointers yielded touchdowns in the final 70 seconds of both the first and second quarter, going to the break down 14-0.
The Pointers held Warhawk star Pierre Cormier to 78 yards — 85 yards below his season average of 163 yards per game. Madison as a team was held to just 145 yards.
But sophomore Madison quarterback Kareem Coles threw touchdown passes of 33 and 47 yards on a night when he totaled 174 yards.
Lacy led the Dogs with 94 yards on 14 carries, with Agnew and Rush adding 46 each.
Touchdowns were credited to Rush in the third quarter and Eischen, on a pass from Martin, in the fourth. Martin connected on six of 13 throws for 90 yards.
Agnew had a big defensive game with 11 tackles and an interception followed by Tristan Bier (six tackles), Eischen (5) and Jake Virissimo, Arreola and Wilburn with four each.
• The Nov. 9 game celebrated the first league title (City League) by the Centurions since 1988.
• Other teams remaining in contention for the Div. III title include No. 1 Olympian, No. 2 Cathedral, No. 3 Ramona, No. 6 West Hills, No. 7 Serra and No. 9 Mt. Carmel.
• The Pointers’ undefeated junior varsity team won the Western League title with a dramatic 14-7 win over Madison. Epperley’s late fourth-quarter touchdown run proved the difference.
• The Pointer freshman team also earned a Western League title after defeating Madison 8-6 in another nailbiter that saw Nicholas Maes score the only Pointers touchdown with just 1:30 left in the game.
• The Pointers are averaging 194 yards per game rushing and an impressive six yards per carry.
• Coming up for Pointer players is the much-anticipated “Turkey Trot” event, which is actually a water-balloon fight between players and highly outnumbered coaches.