"This was really a big game for us," said head coach Mike Hastings. "We knew that Otay Ranch would come to play. We knew that if we could get up on them early that we could battle them, because they usually score quick and often.
"They like to put people away early, but we've held them to under 15 points the past few years," he said.
This was the Mustangs' first loss of the year, and the Dogs shut down Otay Ranch's potent offense, holding it to only 123 total yards. The defense also kept the Mustangs' kicker out of field goal range to keep the game from being tied up at the end.
The story of the game was big plays by the defense and special teams, with many players contributing. Some used missed opportunities to make the most of their effort when those opportunities came back around. Sophomore defensive end Will McDonough had such a chance against the Otay punter, blocking a kick that was recovered by PLHS in a sudden shift of momentum.
"I know I got in there the first time and I was so close but missed him," said McDonough. "The second time I got him, and Alex Blair got the ball and almost ran it back. I knew I could get to him, and it was definitely a big motivator on our side."
Another big moment came when senior defensive end Justin Kundrak sacked the Mustangs quarterback and forced a fumble, giving the Pointer offense another shot with the football. Kundrak and the experienced defenders kept the Otay Ranch team off balance all afternoon.
"I think we prepared well this week in practice," said Kundrak. "Our defense struggled last week against Culver City with a really good quarterback. We came out this week to show that we are a really good team, better than the statistics show."
The offense also had some bright spots. Quarterback David Jaros showed his scrambling skill when he needed to tuck the ball and run, his maturity coming through during the game. Sophomore running back Leslie Rogers is getting more carries as well. His 111 total yards and two touchdowns for the game were a best for the team.
The team is getting better overall, just in time to tackle the Western League. The Otay Ranch game provided a good test of the Pointers' mettle. Ball protection will certainly be an area that the coaches will address at length during this week, as turnovers halted momentum for both teams repeatedly last Friday.
"Down the stretch, the defense really came up big on those last couple drives to stop them," said Hastings. "In the end, we came out three points better than they did, and that's what really matters."
The Pointers host league rivals Mission Bay at 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28. The game will also have a very special significance. The PLHS Boosters will host an Appreciation Day for the Class of 1950 and the championship team of 1949 during a pre-game ceremony around 2:40 p.m.
The Boosters will also be selling '49 team photographs for $2, and the pre-game ceremony will include a plaque/collage dedication to the school by the members of the 1949 team.
For more information, call Bill Mayfield at (619) 223-5868.