High school sports

The shootout at La Palma Park

SANTIAGO HIGH football team rushes onto the field for its game Friday night against Anaheim at Glover Stadium. Cavaliers led at halftime but lost 39-28 (Orange County Tribune photos by Jim Tortolano).

By Jim Tortolano

Glover Stadium in La Palma Park, one of the oldest high school football fields in Orange County, has seen its share of tense and exciting football games. Friday night’s non-league contest between host Anaheim and visitor Santiago was a near classic with its lead changes, big plays and unique strategies, all against the backdrop of the Colonists’ homecoming celebration.

Anaheim eventually triumphed 39-28, but not before Santiago staged a furious fourth quarter rally that cut the margin to just four points. The end result, though, was that the Cavaliers (now 4-1) suffered their first loss of the season and the Colonists posted their second win in a row.

BRYCE MANLEY (12) and Paul Rodriguez (23) did much of the damage for Anaheim against Santiago Friday night.

The visitors led early, 14-6, on the strength of a 6-yard touchdown run by Daniel Padilla and an 80-yard scoring interception return by Nicholas Salazar. But the home team closed to within two when Bryce Manley threw a 20-yard TD pass to Kaiden Robins to make it 14-12. The two-point conversion failed and that’s how things stood at halftime.

At the 11:02 mark of the third quarter, Anaheim grabbed the lead for the first time on a 55-yard TD pass from Manley to Arhjae Allen. This time the two-pointer worked and the Colonists had a 20-14 edge. Anaheim extended its lead to 26-14 on a 10-yard scoring run by Paul Rodriguez, who earned his second touchdown of the night. Another two-point conversion fell short.

After Jeremy Juan recovered an onside kick – one of several Anaheim tried – the Colonists had the ball at midfield. Three plays later, Manley hit Jody Perez on a 22-yard scoring strike. The PAT failed but Anaheim had a 32-14 lead with 1:56 left in the third quarter.

But Cav coach Douglas Ozsvath’s team wasn’t ready to give up. On the ensuing series, Art Martinez tore off a 25-yard run, followed by a 25-yard scoring romp by Isaac Hernandez to cut the lead to 32-20. The two-point try failed.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Cavs went on a 10-play 53-yard march that culminated with a 3-yard TD burst by Martinez. To get the two-point conversion, Santiago sent 260-lb. Satomai Siofele-Rohpati into the line and he blasted into the end zone to cut the lead to 32-28 with 8:03 on the clock.

However, Anaheim countered with a lengthy march of its own. The Colonists went on a 10-play 58-yard drive. One apparent TD pass from Manley to Rodriguez was nullified by a penalty, but a pass from Gabriel Burgara to Rodriguez at 3:26 (plus the extra point kick) made it 39-28.

Three incomplete passes kept Santiago from answering and the home team was content to let that  two minutes on the clock to run out.

Santiago will open Garden Grove League play next Thursday against La Quinta, while Anaheim will take on Magnolia the same night in Orange League play.

ISAAC Hernandez (7) carries the ball for Santiago against Anaheim.

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Cowens leads Mariners past Wildcats

In a battle of unbeatens, Pacifica defeated Brea Olinda 42-39 Friday night in a non-league contest. Darius Cowens accounted for five touchdowns (three passing and two running) as the Mariners improved to 5-0 and sent the Wildcats (now 3-1) down to their first defeat of the season. Cowens ended up with over 450 yards total offense.

The game was an offensive showcase in the first half, as the teams put up 62 points before the intermission. The Mariners will begin Empire League play next Friday hosting Tustin at Bolsa Stadium. The Tillers are 3-2.

Friday night high school football results.

  • Anaheim 39, Santiago 28
  • Pacifica 42, Brea Olinda 39
  • La Quinta 45, Century 16
  • St. Anthony 43, Marina 27
  • Garden Grove 50, Los Amigos 0
  • Rancho Alamitos 37, Ocean View 16.

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