"I was really pleased to see them dig down and find it in themselves to come back," said head coach Willie Matson. "I saw some great things "” we won against a quality opponent."
Both teams made some first downs in the first quarter, but it was mostly the defenses that adapted and stopped the drives. The hot afternoon temperatures and humidity quickly wore down the players on both sides.
With just 24 seconds left in the opening quarter Buccaneer defensive back Victor Johnson intercepted an Eagle pass and returned it 40 yards.
On the next play as time ran out in the quarter, Evan Taylor flipped a pass out to Dillon Baxter. With broken tackles, moves and speed, Baxter delivered the ball 53 yards to score Mission Bay's first touchdown.
Carlos Sanchez bounced the extra point off the crossbar to stay perfect with his short kicks.
Ten minutes later the Eagles successfully drove the length of the field and scored on a two-yard run.
Before and after the tying TD, Baxter scored on 94- and 65-yard runs, but both were called back on clipping penalties.
Two minutes into the second half, Taylor connected with Kevin Nash over the middle to get the Bucs into striking distance. Baxter got the call again in the corner, pulling down the 14-yard scoring pass.
Granite Hills answered on their next drive, throwing a 10-yard strike over the middle to tie the game 14-14.
Mission Bay was backed up to their goal with 8:30 left in the game. A tremendous three-play goal line stand by the Bucs inside the five yard line brought out the Eagles field goal squad.
Looking desperately like the Eagles would take the lead late in the game, the Bucs needed a miracle and got one from Johnson, who knifed in and blocked the kick.
"We all have assigned lanes "” I had a shot and got there fast," Johnson said.
With less than three minutes left, the Bucs dug deep on what was possibly their last possession. A 40-yard pass to Baxter set up the final score to the sure hands of No. 28 again that came on another 29-yard Taylor pass.
An interception by Mario Arellano in the final seconds ended the Eagles threat.
"It was pretty hot. Everybody was tired," Matson said. "But the leaders rose up and showed they were determined to win."
While Baxter scored all three of the Bucs touchdowns, Johnson took home the "You Rock" award for his key defensive plays and both-ways hustle throughout the game.
The Bucs will host Clairemont Friday, Sept. 7, at 3 p.m.
"Clairemont is in our division. We could be seeing them in the playoffs," Matson said. "They are a pretty good team and will be hungry to beat us."
The next four games will take the Bucs to Bonita Vista, Coronado, Point Loma and Lincoln High. League play starts against the Pointers Sept. 28.
Athletic program information is available from the school at (858) 273-1313 ext. 137.