The 2017 football season was truly memorable and record-setting for the Half Moon Bay Cougars. Winning all of the regular season games while in the PAL Bay League, beating Terra Nova for the first time as a visitor in the 2000s in the annual Skull Game, beating Terra Nova again to win the CCS Division 3 Championship, and then becoming the CIF Nor Cal Division 3-A Champions.
The Cougars headed to San Diego to compete in the CIF State 3-A Championship game against the Steele Canyon High School Cougars. In the end, Steele Canyon held on for a 44-42 win against Half Moon Bay High School, giving the Cougars their first loss of the season.
The game was originally planned to be played at Steele Canyon’s field down in San Diego. The game was moved to Southwestern College, still in San Diego but slightly more neutral. The Cougars were set for a 9 hour bus ride, and going through pre-game prep in unfamiliar territory and fashion.
The game started out rough for Half Moon Bay. After receiving the kickoff, HMB was forced to punt, and Steele Canyon scored on their first possession. On HMB’s possession after that score, Steele Canyon picked up a fumble and returned it for a touchdown, making the score 14-0 quickly.
Starting the 2nd quarter, the Cougars got their mojo back, getting a safety, when #57 Aaron Baird tackled the QB in the end zone. With that, the Cougars found their groove, scoring twice more in the 2nd quarter, one on a 5 yard rush from #26 Jake Quosig, and then on a 7 yard touchdown pass from #8 Gavin Tomberlin to #27 Hayden Von Almen. Going into halftime HMB was leading 15-14.
However, Steele Canyon came out in the 3rd quarter firing on all cylinders, scoring 3 unanswered touchdowns, taking the lead at 34-15. But, if there is one thing we all know about the HMB Cougars, is that they are always in the game and will continue to fight. The Cougars drove the ball 75 yards, capping the drive with a rushing score by #21 Chase Hofmann. Then on the ensuing kickoff, #11 Dylan Williams onsided the kick and recovered, giving the Cougars another chance to score. 10 plays later, Chase Hofmann scored his second touchdown of the day, making the score 34-28 in favor of Steele Canyon.
The 4th quarter was truly a battle, as both teams amped up their play to vye for the championship. Steele Canyon scored on a 21 yard field goal, only to have HMB follow up with a 4 yard touchdown run by Chase Hofmann, making the score 37-35. Steele Canyon then drove the length of the field and scored again, with HMB following that score with a 26 yard touchdown pass from Tomberlin to Von Almen.
With the score at 44-42 in favor of Steele Canyon, HMB came out to attempt another onside kick. Williams have the correct angle on the kick, and if the ball had 2 more yards to travel, it would have taken the perfect 2nd hop, giving the Cougars a chance to recover. Unfortunately, the Steele Canyon players were ready, and jumped on the ball before it crossed 10 yards, sealing the victory for them. The Cougars, devastated and exhausted from their effort, held their heads high as the came up short of the victory and Steele Canyon ran the clock out.
In what could be the toughest team HMB played this year, the offense still managed to rack up 479 yards in total offense, and the defense held Steele Canyon to only 38% 3rd down conversions.
A truly tough loss for the Half Moon Bay Cougars, but taking the entire season into account, it truly was a magical season that will go down in history. Thank you all for your support all season long.