Calhoun Countdown: Orange turnaround is real


This week the Calhoun Countdown spotlight shines on …. Orange High.

The first game of the season for Orange was one to forget - a 75-20 loss to Buena Park -  but fortunately, it only counted for one loss.

The Panthers also lost their second game, but it was much closer (12-10 vs. Anaheim) and with that began the learning process.

“We knew going into the season that facing Buena Park (in the season opener) was going to be a tall order,” Orange coach Robert Pedroza said. “The next game (against Anaheim), we didn’t play our best football and it ended up being a tough game.

“Losing that game showed the coaches and players reflect that we needed to practice harder.”

Since then the Panthers, led by their first-year head coach, have won three consecutive games to head into their bye week with a 3-2 record.

The Panthers’ first victory came against Santiago, 28-0, on Sept. 11. With that, they flew by last year’s total of victories.

“We were 0-10 last year,” Pedroza said. “We’re happy where things are going. It was very difficult at first, but the kids have bought in and put in the work it takes to win games. It was hard to change the culture, but it is slowly changing."

Orange also defeated Savanna, 42-9, and Santa Ana Valley, 21-18.

Ty Cole has emerged has one of the county’s top rushers (779 yards) and senior fullback/linebacker Alec Castillo and Kamron Craig have also played key roles this season.

Golden West League play is the next challenge facing the Panthers. Headed into this week's games, five of the six teams have records at .500 or better.

Pedroza said he’s keeping things light this week for the team's players. They will meet during sixth period, lift weights and do some light running, but they will not wear pads.

“Our league is tough,” Pedroza said. “It is nice to have a week for the kids to rejuvenate their batteries. The new season starts (next) Monday.”

Here is the rest of this week's Calhoun Countdown:

Countdown Showdown of the Week: San Clemente at Tesoro. The Tritons have been on an impressive run since losing their season opener to San Juan Hills. That 34-20 score is the closest any team has been to the Stallions this season.

San Clemente has won four consecutive games, averaging 46.7 points a game. The Titans have also been riding a hot streak. Since losing to Mater Dei, 35-14, the Titans have reeled off three consecutive victories.

The key for the Titans has been the performance of senior quarterback Devon Modster. He has had three consecutive 300-plus yard nights during the streak with seven touchdowns and just one interception.

Last year’s game between the teams was wild, with Tesoro winning, 59-38.

Click below to view a preview of Tesoro vs. San Clemente via the OCVarsity Gridiron.

Briseno races to the top: One thing has been certain when Santa Ana’s Jorge Briseno steps onto the field: He is likely to put up big, big numbers.

His effort last week - 261 rushing yards - against La Quinta vaulted him to the top of the county rushing rankings with 902 yards.

I think it is safe to assume he will go over 1,000 yards this week.

Garden Grove’s slide continues: Not on the field, where the Argonauts are 3-1 and coming off a 28-0 victory over Dana Hills. The slide is happening in the CIF-SS Southern Division rankings.

For the second consecutive week, the Argonauts won on the field but slipped in the rankings. This week, they’re down to No. 4, behind El Modena (No. 1), Westminster (No. 2) and Canyon (No. 3).

This week, the Argonauts are on the road at Roosevelt of Eastvale from the Big VIII league.

Who knows where the Argonauts will be in next week’s poll.

Light up that scoreboard: Whittier Christian and St. Margaret’s face off this week. The Heralds scored 76 points in a game this season and the Tartans are averaging 45 points a game.

St. Margaret's quarterback George Krantz has 15 passing touchdowns and receiver/running back Nick Shanks has nine total touchdowns.

Whittier Christian quarterback Quinn Commans has passed for 1,266 yards with 11 touchdowns. Nick Watase has 38 receptions.

You get where I’m going? This game might take four hours.

My vote in this week’s O.C. Top 10 looked like this: 1. Mater Dei; 2. Mission Viejo; 3. Orange Lutheran; 4. Santa Margarita; 5. Tesoro; 6. San Juan Hills; 7. La Habra; 8. JSerra; 9. Servite; 10. San Clemente.

The Real American Hero (for Week 4): Nick Shanks, St. Margaret’s. Shanks gained 164 total yards (92 receiving, 72 rushing) and he reached the end zone five times (three receiving, two rushing) in a 42-6 victory over Arrowhead Christian.

The player to watch this week: Jack Sears, San Clemente. Sears has completed 70 percent of his passes this season and has 17 touchdowns with just two interceptions. He is facing Tesoro this week.

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