Most Viewed Stories
Defense saves day for Huntington Beach
HUNTINGTON BEACH - The old saying in sports is that defense wins championships, but for coach Eric Lo and the Huntington Beach football team, the defense also saved the season.
The Oilers, ranked 16th in the county, intercepted five passes and recorded five sacks Friday to upset ninth-ranked Los Alamitos, 28-7 in a Sunset League game at Huntington Beach High.
"We wanted to get some pressure on the quarterback and try to make him make some bad reads and throw into coverage, and that's what we did," Huntington Beach's Kai Ross said.
This performance for the Oilers (5-4, 3-1) comes one week after their disappointing loss to Newport Harbor last week. The Oilers led by 10 points in the second half before losing.
The victory improves Huntington Beach's chances of making the playoffs. Both the Oilers and Newport Harbor are tied for second at 3-1, behind Edison.
Los Alamitos falls to 2-2 in league and 6-3 overall.
"This is definitely a reflection of their character," Lo said of his team. "They're going to play hard and get after it. We never think we're out of a game.
"We were kind of down on Monday (after the Newport Harbor loss), but we talked about getting our spirits up. We talked about before that game that if we win, we're in the playoffs. How many times can say that the next week, after a tough loss, you have the same thing ... you win, you're in the playoffs and if you win two, you're league champions. So we were fortunate to still have something to play for."
The Oilers had four of their interceptions in the second half, the final one came with 2:27 remaining when Kai Ross went 70 yards for a touchdown.
Brayden McRae had two interceptions and Tucker deCamp and Sebastian Demartini had the other.
"Our backs were against the wall, but our guys came out and made plays when it was our opportunity to make them," Lo said. "We were able to force some turnovers that were huge ... that interception (by Ross) that sealed the deal was huge.
"Great effort, and we needed it. This was a great way to come back."
Next week, Huntington Beach faces Edison, with Newport Harbor meeting Los Alamitos. There is the possibility of three teams finishing at 3-2, forcing a possible coin-flip situation.
"If Newport beats Los Alamitos next week, then we're third," Lo said. "If Newport loses to Los Alamitos, then there is a three-way tie for second."
In the Southwest Division, two at-large berths are available and Huntington Beach, Los Alamitos and Newport Harbor will all be at .500 or better, making them an attractive possible selection.
Ross passed for two touchdowns, and running back Bowen Breunig rushed for 144 yards and one score for the Oilers.