Segerstrom tops rival Saddleback in tough battle


SANTA ANA – Segerstrom coach Joe Tagaloa earned his second victory as a head coach at the expense of his alma mater Friday night.

Sparked by a stingy defense and two touchdowns by sophomore Sam Sandoval, the Jaguars defeated city rival Saddleback, 16-8, in a nonleague game at Segerstrom High. The game was a rematch of last season’s CIF-Southern Section Southern Division first-round playoff game, which was also victorious for Segerstrom, 35-20.

Segerstrom – ranked No. 3 in Division 12 – never trailed, but couldn’t pull away from the Roadrunners (0-1) and needed a late stop and a key first-down conversion to earn its second victory of the season.

“It definitely wasn’t pretty,” said Tagaloa. “We couldn’t get in a rhythm offensively, but we’ll take the victory.”

Segerstrom’s defense was in sync, nearly earning its second consecutive shutout to start the season. The Jaguars led 16-0 before Saddleback senior Jacob Jimenez returned a kickoff 76 yards for a touchdown with 7:37 left in the game. Jonathan DeLeon added the 2-point conversion on a run off right tackle, cutting the lead to 16-8.

Saddleback – ranked No. 9 in Division 12 – gained possession with 5:37 left, but was forced to punt. Segerstrom, needing a first down, converted on a fourth-and-1 play with a 10-yard run by Sandoval with 1:47 left, ending Saddleback’s chances.

Segerstrom scored on its second possession of the game following a fumbled punt attempt by Saddleback at its 3. Sandoval raced around the left side on the next play for a touchdown. He would later add his second tourchdown on a 8-yard run in the fourth quarter.

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