Santa Ana Valley strikes quickly, knocks off Northwood
IRVINE - Santa Ana Valley coach Larry Mohr had no filter shortly before kickoff Friday night when he spoke of expectations for his defense.
With Falcons key defender and coverage caller, Anthony Perez, out with an injury, Mohr was emphatic about sealing up the secondary.
“We can’t get beat deep,” Mohr said. “Last week our corner got beat, and we yanked him right away. We can’t have that.”
Santa Ana Valley quickly answered the call, using three first-half turnovers to push past Northwood, 35-21, in a nonleague battle at Portola High.
The Falcons (2-2) racked up 235 yard of offense in the first half, thanks largely to the opportune defense and senior running back Chris Hernandez’s dominant ground attack (106 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the first half). He finished with 185 rushing yards.
Santa Ana Valley built a 28-7 halftime lead against the Timberwolves (0-4), converting the two first-quarter interceptions into scores.
On Northwood’s second drive of the game, Kenneth Brito intercepted an errant pass at the Falcons 43 and returned to the Northwood 43. It took Santa Ana Valley just four plays for Sherman Thomas to convert his first completion of the game to Malcolm Wesley in the back of the end zone for an 18-yard TD.
On the ensuing possession, a tipped Northwood pass was corralled at the line by Isaiah Ybarra. The Falcons went on a methodical eight-play, 66-yard drive, punching it in on Hernandez’ 10 yard burst through the left side for a 14-0 lead. Hernandez added another score in the second quarter on a 6-yard run.
Northwood cut the deficit to two scores at 28-14 on Cameron Kasey’s recovery in the end zone off a blocked punt late in the third quarter, but by then it was too late.