By Jim Tortolano
Employing a punishing and sometime spectacular ground game, the Pacifica Mariners literally ran away with their first round CIF-SS Division 10 football game Friday night, defeating Whittier 57-21.
Playing before a large home crowd at Michael Monsoor Stadium in Garden Grove, the Mariners never trailed in improving their record to 10-1, despite having an off night through the air.
“That’s it. We’re always going to take what you give us. You take away the pass and we’re going to run on you,” said Mariner coach Vinnie Lopez.
Indeed they did. On their second possession, the Empire League co-champs drove 83 yards in eight plays for a score, capped by a 3-yard TD scramble by quarterback Ben Jefferson at the 7:54 mark of the first quarter.
The Cardinals were able to knot the score up at 4:46 on a 50-yard return of a Pacifica fumble, but that was the high-water mark for Whittier. The M’s got a 3-yard scoring run from Isaak Togia, finishing off a 12-play drive, then went into halftime with a 21-7 lead on Rai Sagastume’s short TD push.
“We started slow and finished fast,” said Lopez, and yes, the Mariners found a new gear in the second half. Jefferson connected with Sean Blake for a 62-yard pass-run play and a 28-7 lead at 10:19 of the third quarter. Ali Chokr’s 74-yard TD return at 7:03 made it 35-7.
Whittier countered with a score at 6:02, but the M’s fired back with a 61-yard touchdown run by Jefferson to put Pacifica up 42-14.
The rout was on. The teams traded scores in the fourth quarter; Joe Meza had a 48-yard touchdown run for the M’s and the Mariner defense even added two points with a safety for the final score.
Pacifica has a storied football history, but has never won a CIF section title. Is this the year for the M’s?
“I think if we stay healthy and play the way we can play, I think we have as good a shot as anybody else,” said Lopez.
The next step on that path will be Nov. 17, when Pacifica takes on Valley View High of Moreno Valley in a quarterfinal contest. The Eagles defeated Shadow Hills 49-28 in their first round game.
Friday night CIF-SS football results
Division 2: Edison 28, La Habra 27 (OT): Griffin O’Connor’s 2-yard TD run in overtime – along with the extra point – was the decider in this close contest. The Highlanders tried to go for two points after they scored, but fell short. The Chargers (8-3) will play Oaks Christian (9-2) next week.
- Division 6: Fountain Valley 38, Elsinore 23. The Barons (7-4) advanced to the second round against Golden Valley next week.
- Division 10: Pacifica 57, Whittier 21: The Mariners rolled past the Cardinals (see details above).
- Division 11: Westminster 32, St. Genevieve 20: The Lions (9-2) will face Covina next week after this first round win.
- Division 13: La Quinta 28, Savanna 21: The Aztecs scored three third quarter touchdowns to grab the win and improve their record to 10-1; Orange 28, Cantwell-Sacred Heart 26: Rio Hondo Prep will be the next foe for the Panthers (9-2).
Categories: High school sports