High school sports

Mariners get a lesson from the Cougars

SEAN BLAKE (11) quarterbacked the Mariners against Capistrano Valley (Orange County Tribune photos by Jim Tortolano).

By Christopher Abdelmalek

In these early season games, a high school football team can take on a powerful opponent to measure just how strong it is, or how far it has to go.

When Pacifica hosted Capistrano Valley Friday night at Monsoor Stadium on the Garden Grove High campus, the Mariners took a defeat, falling 44-7, But that doesn’t mean the M’s (now 2-1) are taking a new, more pessimistic outlook on the still-young season.

“That first offensive series we were moving the ball well on them, and then we just self-imploded. We aren’t there yet, but we are on our way,” said Pacifica head coach Vinnie Lopez.

Indeed, the blue-black-and-white made it easier on the visitors by throwing four interceptions and committing several minor penalties that hindered their progress.

PACIFICA head coach Vinnie Lopez says “we’ll get there” of the Mariner team.

Mariner quarterback Sean Blake completed 15 of 31 passes for 149 yards, and the four picks.

“Sean needs that experience; he needs to learn from it,” said Lopez. “He has to know that I have confidence in him to play football.”

The M’s – who came into the game ranked first in CIF-SS Division 7 – did start off the game with confidence, moving the ball well. But the Cougar defense stiffened and after Pacifica was forced to punt, Capo Valley – ranked fifth in Division 3 – marched down the field, the drive capped by a 29-yard touchdown pass from Nathan Manning to Jack Haley.

On the next series, Capo Valley picked off a Blake pass and returned it to the Pacifica 23. Zack Vetter converted that into a 30-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead.

Things got tougher from there. The M’s fell short on a fourth-and-inches play, setting up the Cougars on the Pacifica 36. Two plays later, Blake Morgan caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Manning to put Capo Valley up 17-0 before the end of the second quarter.

Another interception led to another Cougar score, and things began to spin out of control. Manning ended up with five TD passes in the first half and Vetter had three field goals in the game, two in the first half.

The Mariner ground game, so effective in their team’s first two games, was held to not much. Top rusher Rai Sagatume did get the lone Mariner score on a 13-yard run on the M’s first possession of the second half, but overall rushed for under 50 yards.

Pacifica (2-1) will seek to bounce back next Friday when the M’s visit Woodbridge (1-2) at University High in Irvine.

ZACK VETTER kicked three field goals for Capistrano Valley against Pacifica Friday night.


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