By Zach Cavanagh

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO – San Juan Hills coach Rob Frith said that Friday’s game against South Hills of West Covina was essentially a playoff game.

It wasn’t “win or go home,” but with the Stallions ranked No. 5 in CIF-SS Division 4 and South Hills right behind at a No. 6, it was an opportunity to make a statement to the CIF-SS committee when it came to playoff seeding at the end of the year.

San Juan Hills was loud and clear.

The Stallions got highlight reel plays from Joey Hobert, a punishing effort on the ground from Austin Hogan and another stellar defensive performance to dominate the Huskies, 42-7, in a nonleague game at San Juan Hills High School.

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“You hope that you made statement,” Frith said. “You hope people see this football game, and in our division, they see that we’re one of the top dogs. That’s where we want to be. That’s why we work as hard as we work.”

Hobert, a Washington State commit, caught five passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns, stellar plays of 85 and 44 yards each, and an interception. Hogan ran the ball 13 times for 94 yards and two touchdowns rushing and caught a touchdown pass. Quarterback Hudson Jones completed his first 13 passes in a 13 of 14 effort for 288 yards and three touchdowns.

“We proved that we’re the better team in the division,” Hogan said. “We came out and did our job and came out victorious.”

South Hills (2-1) was able to move at times, but San Juan Hills (2-1) was able to get critical stops and forced two turnovers. South Hills didn’t score until late in the running-clock fourth quarter with the San Juan Hills starters on the sidelines.

The Stallions first big stop came on fourth down in their own territory in the first quarter. San Juan Hills then flipped the field on a 46-yard bomb from Jones to Hobert, and Hogan finished the drive with a 9-yard TD run for the lead, 7-0.

Hobert pulled in his interception at the start of the second quarter, and Jones hit James Gaines on a short pass that Gaines fought into striking distance on a 41-yard play. Hogan caught a swing pass for the 1-yard touchdown and the 14-0 lead.

San Juan Hills’ next drive was quick and spectacular. Jones hit Hobert on the right side, and Hobert immediately cut through the middle of the defense and exploded up the San Juan Hills sideline. With some blocking help and some agile twisting of the last defender, Hobert broke off an 85-yard catch-and-run TD pass for a 21-0 lead.

“That was a great game plan call,” Hobert said. “We knew that they were going to bite over the top because we usually go outside. So we had a certain play to bring it back inside and across the field. I saw Jaxon Lewis, he was lead blocking and getting in front of everyone, then I just had to worry about cutting back inside.”

A fumble ended the next South Hills drive, and Hobert pulled another trick out of his hat.

Jones lobbed a ball towards Hobert in the middle, and Hobert leaped up to snag the ball and ran to the far pylon to complete a 44-yard touchdown for the 28-0 lead.

“‘He never ceases to amaze me,” Frith said of Hobert. “He’s the best player in Orange County.”

From there, San Juan Hills cruised.

The Stallions opened the second half with a nine-play drive that Hogan finished on a 12-yard touchdown run for the 35-0 lead

Later in the third quarter, San Juan Hills pounded the rock with John Gaines 10 times on a 14-play drive, including the 1-yard TD run for the 42-0 advantage.

San Juan Hills goes on the road next week for a tough test against Edison at Huntington Beach High School. Last season, Edison beat San Juan Hills at the Badlands, 33-14, in the regular season, but the Stallions got the last word in a 22-15 first-round home playoff win.

 

Zach Cavanagh
Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is a California Journalism Award winner and has covered sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports.

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