Santa Ana senior Jorge Briseno runs toward the end-zone during a game against Segerstrom at Santa Ana Stadium on Friday, October 28, 2016. (Photo by Nick Agro, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Santa Ana pounds Segerstrom to claim first league title since '91


(Editor's note: The story had been updated to reflect that Santa Ana earned a share of its first league title since 1991.)  

SANTA ANA – He rolled the dice on the opening possession of the night, and in doing so, Santa Ana coach Charlie TeGantvoort made it known this was a game that was going to be won in the trenches.

On a fourth-and-1 from the Segerstrom 24-yard line, Jorge Briseno took a handoff straight up the A-gap and rumbled his way 20 yards to the Jaguar 4, where he would punch it in seconds later.

Briseno made a habit of breaking off large chunks of yardage Friday night, rushing for a season-high 245 yards and four touchdowns in the Saints’ punishing 42-6 win over Segerstrom in a Golden West League clash at Santa Ana Stadium.

In knocking off the previously unbeaten Jaguars (8-1, 3-1), the Saints improved to a perfect 9-0 on the season and clinched at least a share of their first league title since 1991.

Now 4-0 in league play, the only thing separating Santa Ana from an outright title – and the likely No. 1 overall seed in the Division 13 playoff bracket – is a date with Westminster on the road next week.

“Our kids have adversity all around them at all times, and it’s just so great to see when kids like our boys at Santa Ana become men, and execute, and play the way we know they can,” said a soaking wet TeGantvoort moments after receiving a Gatorade bath from an elated sideline. “It’s great to see something so good happen to these young men. But we’re not finished.”

Arguably most excited after the victory was Briseno, who more than doubled his season rushing yardage on Friday. Coming off an ACL tear that took the final half of a promising junior campaign, the veteran running back looked like his old self, running over and around Jaguar defenders throughout the night.

His 27 carries were 10 more than he had in any one game this season, but most importantly, Briseno finally felt comfortable as the focal point of the offensive game plan.

“I haven’t played running back in a long time – I’ve been playing a lot of slot – and I was nervous with the ACL and the tear,” he said. “But when we got that first touchdown, I felt confident in myself and was just like, ‘I’m back.’”

Behind an offensive line that dominated up front, Briseno ran for 145 yards and two touchdowns in the first half on just 14 carries. The Saints took a 21-0 lead into the break and never looked back.

Briseno added a pair of touchdown runs in the third quarter and a 25-yard scoop-and-score from Saints defensive end Steven Cruz made the score 42-0, serving as the exclamation mark on a night the Santa Ana faithful won’t soon forget.

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