By Jim Shilander
JSerra moved to 5-0 on the season in a hard fought victory over Trabuco Hills Friday at Saddleback College, getting a major assist from junior Casey Eugenio, who accounted for three scores, including an interception return for a touchdown, as the Lions won 31-21.
The Lions took advantage of some early Trabuco mistakes, recovering a fumble on the first Mustang Drive deep in Lion territory, then holding the Mustangs off the scoreboard after a punt snap was fumbled, which started the second Mustang drive on the Lion 18.
Eugenio’s first big play came near the end of the first quarter, as he picked off Nathan Perry’s errant throw and took it in from 45 yards out, starting the scoring for the Lions. Perry and the Mustangs responded on the next drive, going 85 yards in 11 plays. The Lions then responded, as Dante Pettis took in a 23-yard strike from Nick Robinson in for a score. The Lions had one more score in them too, blocking a punt on ensuing Mustang possession through the end zone for a safety and a 16-7 halftime lead.
The start of the second half seemed to point to a Mustang comeback, as a bad snap on a punt allowed Trabuco Hills to start their first drive on the JSerra 8-yard line. This time, the Mustangs took advantage, as JT Land went inform three-yards.
After forcing another punt, the Mustangs drove down again, as Perry again scored on a sneak from short yardage, putting the Mustangs up 21-16.
But, following a 64-yard pass play to Pettis, Eugenio muscled his way into the end zone, both for a touchdown and the two-point conversion, to give the Lions the lead back before the end of the third quarter 24-21.
Both teams then forced the other to punt, before Trabuco attempted to mount a final, game winning drive that ended with another Eugenio interception.
The junior two-way star then capped his evening with a four-yard touchdown run to make the final score 31-21.