May 28, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Darius Cowens powers Pacifica to thrilling 42-39 win

Pacifica’s Darius Cowens scores the decisive TD on a 5-yard run with 4:33 remaining to lead the Mariners to a 42-39 win over Brea Olinda. (Photo courtesy Jim McCormack, For OC Sports Zone)

In spite of the distractions … an inordinate number of penalties on both teams, injuries and exhaustion …visiting Pacifica and Brea-Olinda played a classic high school football game Friday night.

“This was the game everyone expected,” said Pacifica Coach Vinnie Lopez after his Mariners had improved to 5-0 with a nail-biting 42-39 victory over the Wildcats (3-1) at Brea Olinda.

“There were two really good football programs on the field tonight,” Lopez continued. “All week we preached to the kids that Brea was going to be the best team we’ve played and we had to step it up.”

Pacifica took Lopez’s scouting report to heart.

“We had awesome practices this week and it really paid off tonight,” said Mariner quarterback/safety Darius Cowens, a junior who has started since he was a freshman. Cowens amassed more than 400 yards total offens while throwing three touchdown passes and rushing for two more scores.

“We’re really explosive,” Lopez said. “We have five guys you have to guard (quarterback, running back and three receivers). Any of them can take it to the house at any given moment.”

The Mariners demonstrated that immediately with receiver Jordan Ross taking a short pass from Cowens over the middle and running away from everyone on a play that spanned 63 yards that gave Pacifica a 7-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.

Not to be outdone, Brea Olinda scored twice on runs by Andrew Rubio (31 and 26 yards) sandwiched around a 34-yard dash by Pacifica’s Jun Ramos and the teams were tied after one quarter.

Much of the second quarter belonged to Pacifica and when the Mariners scored three consecutive times to build a 21-point lead, it looked like Brea Olinda might be blown off the field. The Mariner scores were 71-yard passes to Jeremiah Ingraham and 64 yards to Ramos. Cowens’ 13-yard run made it 35-14 only 4:29 into the second quarter.

Instead of collapsing, Brea Olinda responded. 

Aiden Arnold’s 1-yard TD trimmed Pacifica’s lead to 15 at 4:32 of the quarter  (the extra point was blocked) and Justus Thongprahchan’s 41-yard bomb to Ryan Reagans made it 35-27 at halftime.

Brea Olinda’s defense kept the Mariners out of the end zone in the third period and when Brock Labelle, replacing the injured Andrews, scored on a 14-yard run at 7:12 of the quarter, the Wildcats were within two after a run on the 2-point conversion attempt failed.

This time it was the Pacifica defense that responded, keeping Brea Olinda out of the end zone until the final 2:44 of the last period when Thongprachan scored on a 16-yard run. The PAT was blocked.

Brea Olinda’s fourth-quarter score wasn’t enough because Cowens had driven his team the length of the field, running the final five yards for a TD at 4:38 to give the Mariners, as it turned out, an insurmountable 42-33 lead.

To see earlier story, please click here.

—Courtesy Jim McCormack, For OC Sports Zone