By Steve Breazeale
After a blistering start to their South Coast League opening game on Oct. 7, it seemed like San Juan Hills and Trabuco Hills were destined to exchange touchdowns all night. But the promise of an offensive shootout quickly fizzled, at least for one team, as the Stallions were the only squad able to keep up the momentum in a dominating 47-14 victory.
The Stallions were excellent in all facets of the game and found a rhythm early. It was a good thing too, because the Mustangs were up for the foot race in the first quarter.
San Juan Hills (6-1, 1-0 league) scored on a 17-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Rodriguez to Jacob Huff, only to be answered by Trabuco Hills (2-5, 0-1) three plays later. Mustangs quarterback Tommy Germain hit Chris Ingoglia on the sideline and the senior took the ball 80 yards for a score and a 7-6 lead.
San Juan Hills retook the lead on its next drive when Rodriguez found Cayden McCluskey for a 42-yard scoring strike, but the quick-hit ability of the Mustang offense tampered the celebration. Three plays after McCluskey’s score, the Mustangs found paydirt again, this time after Germain completed passes of 53 and 31 yards, the final one finding Rennon Misiuk for a touchdown and a 14-12 lead.
The teams exchanged interceptions to start the second quarter, rather than touchdowns. Trabuco Hills’ Nick Friedman picked off Rodriguez, but San Juan Hills’ Jack Swift recorded two interceptions in the quarter to keep the momentum on his team’s side. Swift’s second takeaway set up a lengthy scoring drive that gave San Juan Hills the lead for good at 19-14.
After his blistering start in the first quarter, during which he completed three passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns, Germain completed just four passes the rest of the way for 29 yards and three interceptions.
“Our defense is aggressive, so (Trabuco Hills) is downhill hitting us with stuff (in the first), and they’re doing a good job,” Stallions head coach Aaron Flowers said. “It was almost like the kids needed to see it once … and we were able to adjust from there.”
Rodriguez was extremely effective, completing 21 of 28 passes for 233 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Rodriguez connected with standout wide receivers Huff and Cayden McCluskey for 87 and 73 yards, respectively. Huff caught one touchdown pass while McCluskey nabbed two. Rodriguez completed passes to six different receivers.
Brock Cazel, Quinn Ginieczki and Brady Bjorkman all scored rushing touchdowns for the Stallions and senior defensive end Ryan Smith recorded an interception in the third quarter.