After dropping their initial two games of the 2021-22 season by a total of five points, the Steele Canyon Cougars obviously had a point to prove: they were deserving of being in the win column.
The Cougars indeed came out victorious in last Friday’s non-league outing at San Marcos High School. The third time proved to be the charm, though it took a monstrous fourth quarter rally to finally reward the team with a much desired 29-23 win.
Junior running back Major Givens broke loose for a signature 245-yard rushing performance while scoring three touchdowns along the way as Steele Canyon (1-2) recovered from a 23-7 fourth-quarter deficit to post the victory with 22 unanswered points in the final quarter.
Givens scored twice in the final 10 minutes to rescue the Cougars from a pending third consecutive loss. He scored on a 31-yard run to narrow the score to 23-21 but the two-point conversion failed.
Steele Canyon got the ball on its next drive at its own three-yard line, but the Cougars continued to gain ground through the steadfast running of Givens, who bolted 27 yards to the San Marcos three-yard line to set up the go-ahead touchdown.
Senior Jacob Manzo was successful on the two-point conversion run to put the visitors ahead by six points. They made that margin of victory stand up.
Sophomore Matthew Barton completed a 45-yard pass to senior Nathaniel Gillis to set up Given’s first touchdown of the game on a three-yard run.
The Cougars got back in the game on a one-yard scoring run by senior Eric King and a two-point conversion pass to junior Keanu Pettiford (from King) to trim the once imposing San Marcos lead to 23-15.
Junior Adrien Chargualaf notched seven tackles on defense and also had a key 39-yard punt return to help set up Steele Canyon’s first touchdown in its dramatic fourth-quarter comeback.
Despite trailing for the majority of the game, the Cougars actually outgained the Knights (0-3) in total offensive yardage.
Steele Canyon will seek to extend its winning streak to two games when it visits perennial power St. Augustine (0-3) on Friday. The schedule gets even tougher when the Cougars host the Lincoln Hornets (Sept. 17) and Cathedral Catholic Dons (Sept. 24) in back-to-back encounters.
Cathedral Catholic (2-1) is currently ranked first among teams in the San Diego Section while the Hornets (2-1) are ranked second.
Steele Canyon is ranked 23rd in the section, 15th among Division I teams. St. Augustine is ranked 20th in the section, 13th among Division I teams.