Santiago’s football season comes to an end against La Mirada
From OC Varsity – La Mirada coach Mike Moschetti said he saw a more athletic Santiago team during film study than the one he saw on the field Friday, when his Matadores defeated the Cavaliers, 40-0, in a CIF-SS Southern Division quarterfinal at Garden Grove High.
Perhaps Santiago’s players should have spent more time studying for classes, said Cavaliers coach Aaron Shahrestani, adding that seven were declared ineligible when the school’s first-quarter grades were issued.
The roster depletion created a problem on an already-undermanned Santiago squad, and La Mirada (11-1), led by two-way standout J.T. Torres, wasted little time in putting the game away and setting up a semifinal matchup against Laguna Hills.
Torres ripped through the middle of the Cavaliers’ defense for a 60-yard touchdown run on the Matadores’ first play from scrimmage, added a 55-yard receiving touchdown later in the first quarter off a fake toss-sweep by quarterback Daniel Ponce De Leon, and bounced left for a 4-yard scoring run that gave La Mirada a 26-0 lead with 8:32 left in the second quarter.
“J.T. is the heart and soul of this team: He also blocks, tackles and plays great defense,” Moschetti said. “He’s a special player.”
Ponce De Leon found Julian Matta on a fade route for a 22-yard touchdown pass on the Matadores’ next possession, pushing the lead to 33-0, before Santiago (9-3) embarked on its best possession of the night.
Starting at their 20-yard line after yet another touchback — Matta drilled all seven of his kickoffs into the end zone — the Cavaliers marched 66 yards on 13 plays, coming up 3 yards short of a first down on a fourth-down completion from Chris Ortega to Oscar Languren at the La Mirada 14.
When Julian Martinez left the game because of an injury, Santiago inserted receiver and backup quarterback Missael Lagunas as the primary tailback. He came through with 81 yards on 16 carries, the lone offensive bright spot for the Cavaliers.
Torres and Ponce De Leon rested during the second half, when Alex Munoz took most of La Mirada’s carries and found the end zone on a 1-yard plunge two plays into the fourth quarter for the game’s final score.
By Andy Eiser