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Pacifica surprises No. 21 Cypress

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

ANAHEIM – Ben Jefferson threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, and Raul Balderas rushed for 94 yards and scored twice as Pacifica downed Cypress, 34-16, in an Empire League game Friday night at Western High.

Jefferson completed 7 of 14 passes for 154 yards and rushed for 72 yards on 11 carries. The Mariners (4-4, 1-2) held No. 21 Cypress (5-3, 1-2), ranked ninth in CIF-SS Division 9, to 196 yards and sacked Centurions quarterback Alex Ashcraft seven times.

Cypress took an early 7-0 lead when Ashcraft completed a pass to Elias Rios, who outleaped a Mariners defender and raced the rest of the way for a 71-yard touchdown.

Jefferson pulled Pacifica even later in the first period when he scored on a 2-yard run. From there, the Mariners scored twice in the final four minutes of the first half.

Bobby Santos caught a 22-yard pass from Jefferson to give Pacifica the lead for good. The duo teamed for a 42-yard completion on the Mariners’ next possession, setting up a 4-yard scoring run by Balderas, who rushed for 94 yards on 17 carries.

Cypress pinned Pacifica at its own 3-yard line after a third-quarter punt. On the ensuing play, Cypress defensive back Sean Ojinnaka tackled Balderas for a safety that cut Pacifica’s lead to 21-9 with 7:30 left in the third quarter.

Pacifica, which finished with 320 yards in offense, responded three minutes later when Jefferson found Balderas for a 33-yard scoring strike.

Cypress’ Jeremiah Thompson capped a nine-play, 85-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run midway through the final quarter. The march was aided by Ashcraft completions of 31 and 27 yards to Rios, and two 15-yard penalties against Pacifica.

Jefferson completed the Pacifica scoring with a 32-yard touchdown pass to Nate Deaton less than 90 seconds later.

Despite the consistent pressure on Ashcraft, he completed 12 of 20 for 202 yards. Rios had six catches for 167 yards.


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