Prep Football: Poway High rides fast start to 35-13 win over Carlsbad
By Michael Bower
Time and again the Poway High defense has created turnovers to setup the offense in prime position to score. There was no better example of that this season than in Friday night’s game against Carlsbad.
The Titans turned three fumbles by the Lancers into 21 points and got a 62-yard punt return for a score by Ryan Sharpe all in the first quarter en route to a 35-13 victory over visiting Carlsbad.
The Lancers fumbled the ball away in three of their first seven offensive plays – Max Michaels recovered all of them — and the Titans made sure not to waste a single opportunity.
Nehemiah Gross turned the first fumble into a 5-yard TD run, Conor Flanagan the second into a 15-yard burst for a TD and Gross turned the final fumble into a 1-yard TD run. After Sharpe’s 62-yard punt return, it was 28-0 Poway with 1:17 left in the first quarter.
“Coach (Robby Sevier) has been doing an outstanding job game planning for our defense each and every week, and I thought he had Carlsbad’s number tonight,” Poway coach Damian Gonzalez said. “And coach Brett Williams is doing a fantastic job with the special teams. Ryan Sharpe got the big punt return for a touchdown. We just have to keep that stuff rolling.”
It was Poway’s fifth straight game of scoring at least 35 points and its fifth win in a row. The Titans may have also locked down the No. 3 seed in the San Diego Section Division II playoffs Friday night thanks to top-ranked Oceanside’s 56-0 crushing of second-ranked La Costa Canyon.
Poway has a case to get the nod over the Mavericks (7-2) for that third seed, despite losing to them 10-9 in Week 2, because of a better power ranking. With just one regular-season game left, Oceanside (8-1) and Helix (7-1) look to be locks for the top two spots in the Division II playoffs.
But the Titans are not concerned with any of that yet. They have a chance to clinch the outright Palomar League title for the second year in a row with a win against crosstown rival Rancho Bernardo (1-8) next week. The matchup is always a fun one for the kids.
“I think what makes the game fun is our kids know the players from Rancho Bernardo so it creates an intense rivalry because they have played each other for years,” Gonzalez said. “For some of these guys, it is an eight-year or nine-year rivalry. It should be a good one.”
Nevada-bound linebacker/tight end Alec Moreno registered two sacks and hauled in four balls for 36 yards against the Lancers. Arizona-bound cornerback/WR Derek Babiash made it 35-0 with 3:07 to go before the half with a spectacular grab in the corner of the end zone. He was shoved in the air and still managed to get a foot down for the 15-yard TD reception.
Poway sputtered on offense from there, though. Carlsbad outscored the Titans 13-0 in the second half thanks to a 32-yard TD reception by Jordan Perez on fourth-and-31 and Shawn Cameron’s 99-yard TD run with 2:42 to go.
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