After breaking a tackle, Capistrano Valley's Jake Werner, center, breaks into the open with Cypress defenders giving chase during the fourth quarter in Mission Viejo on Friday, September 30, 2016. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Capo Valley interception knocks out Cypress


MISSION VIEJO – Rafael Ramos had seen the play before, just days ago in film study: trips left, with his receiver running a quick out route toward the sideline.

With Cypress driving deep into Capistrano Valley territory early in the third quarter, the Cougars defensive back sniffed out the play and the route pre-snap, and used his instinct to cash in.

On the Centurions’ opening series of the second half, Ramos intercepted Cypress quarterback Alex Ashcraft at the Cougars’ 20-yard line, and darted 80 yards in the opposite direction for the back-breaking pick-six that Capistrano Valley used get past the Centurions, 30-7, Friday night in a nonleague game at Capistrano Valley High.

Capo Valley (5-1) forced four Cypress turnovers and turned those miscues into 21 points. Ramos’ interception came at the 7:11 mark in the third quarter when the Centurions (4-1) were looking to turn a 10-point deficit into a one-possession game.

Instead, Ramos put the Cougars up, 17-0.

“The defense has shown up all year,” Capo Valley coach Ernie Bucher said. “We’re averaging giving up eight points a game – that’s going to go down a little bit tonight – and that’s against a talented offensive group. Those guys had a lot of speed at pretty much every spot with a talented, shifty quarterback.

“But the defense has played like it has for six straight games. They’ve truly dominated and it’s fun to watch.”

Capo has held four of its six opponents to a touchdown or less this season, and did so on Friday with a tremendous push from its defensive line.

Junior defensive end Nolan Reeve had his hand in three sacks. Senior Juan Manzo set up the Cougars’ first score of the game with a forced fumble deep in Cypress territory. And Juan Carlos Saldivar and Zach Ritner applied constant pressure on Ashcraft.

Despite outgaining Capo in the first half, 165-128, the Centurions trailed 10-0 at halftime and had just 5 yards rushing on 15 attempts. Cypress failed to score on a first-and-goal from the 3, and missed two field-goal attempts in the opening half.

The Centurions were in the midst of a six-play, 45-yard drive in the third quarter when Ramos made the game-changing interception.

“I don’t think that score’s indicative of the game at all,” Centurions coach Rick Feldman said. “I felt like we played like a top-25 team tonight. It’s funny because I feel better about us after a loss getting ready for league than I do after any of the four wins.”

Aschraft was solid minus the interception, throwing for 244 yards and a touchdown to Dominique Thompson late in the third quarter.

Kian Assarpour rushed for two touchdowns, and Kevin Brown completed 24 passes for 223 yards and a touchdown.

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