HUNTINGTON BEACH — To determine the outcome of Friday night's Sunset League opener between Ocean View High School and Fountain Valley, you had to follow the bouncing ball.
Two Fountain Valley pass plays in the fourth quarter provided the thrills--each time, the intended receiver wasn't the one holding the ball when the play was completed. Only when the second play was completed with less than a minute remaining and Ocean View's Sean Rogers gripped his interception tightly was it over.
Ocean View had defeated Fountain Valley, the defending league and Southern Section Division I champions, 17-16, at Huntington Beach High School. Only then could Ocean View Coach Howard Isom savor his school's first-ever victory over Fountain Valley.
"It got a little hairy at the end," Isom said, moments before his players carried him off the field on their shoulders.
It was a big win for Ocean View (4-2, 1-0), which finished fourth in the league last year, missing the Southern Section playoffs. Now it is in position to take on the rest of the league with a winning record.
But it could have easily gone the other way, what with the ball bouncing as it did.
Midway through the fourth quarter, trailing 17-10, Fountain Valley quarterback Willy Puga threw a short pass over the middle to his tight end, Kameron McCluskey. McCluskey could only tip the ball, and it somehow ended up in the hands of teammate Doug Weaver, who ran the final few yards to finish the 25-yard touchdown play.
The extra point attempt failed, but the Barons got another chance when Rogers missed a 45-yard field goal attempt with less than two minutes remaining.
This time, Puga seemed to have completed a long pass to McCluskey that would have put the Barons close to field-goal range. But McCluskey never pulled the ball in, and the ball wound up in the hands of Rogers for his fifth interception of the season.
It was the last pass for Puga--who completed 16 of 26 passes for 226 yards and two interceptions--and the last gasp for the Barons, who had led, 10-0, in the first half.
But the tide may have turned in the last minutes of the first half when Rogers kicked a 49-yard field goal.