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Dana Hills wins share of title, but gets No. 3 spot
DANA POINT – In time, No. 21 Dana Hills will proudly hang the school's first Sea View League Champions banner from the rafters of its gymnasium.
But that banner – one that has been 38 years in the making – might be the only one the Dolphins get a chance to raise before next season.
Despite defeating visiting San Juan Hills, 28-14, on Friday night to claim a share of the Sea View League title (along with Laguna Hills and Capistrano Valley), Dana Hills, by virtue of a series of coin flips, finished as the league's No. 3 representative.
Since the five-team Sea View League allots just two guaranteed playoffs spots, the Dolphins (4-6, 3-1) will have to be chosen as one of the two at-large teams in the Southwest Division to continue their season.
"It's a great accomplishment for the players, especially the senior class," Dana Hills coach Todd Rusinkovich said of the school's first league title. "This championship will be their lasting legacy as we continue to develop a Dolphins dynasty."
Halfback Marcus Hughes, who missed much of the second half of the season because of an injury, finished with 105 yards on 16 carries.
"Marcus Hughes came back from his injury with a big neckbrace on, looking like a beast out there, and he ran like it," Rusinkovich said. "He allowed us to control the football and grind down the clock in the fourth quarter.
"He's a senior leader, a senior captain, and played a heck of a game. It was outstanding to watch."
After falling behind by a score early, Dana Hills turned an interception by Matthew Slade into seven points on Hughes' 5-yard TD run.
On the Dolphins' subsequent possession, Logan Warren hauled in a 21-yard TD pass to give the hosts a second-quarter lead they wouldn't relinquish.
"Our kids played outstanding," Rusinkovich said. "They came out a little too fired up, jumping offsides a couple times on the first drive, but after that, our defense was great and our offense got rolling after the first quarter."
Dana Hills' defense held the Stallions (7-3, 1-3) to minus-13 yards rushing, a number that includes five sacks and a number of rushes for negative yardage.
San Juan Hills backup quarterback Jack Gillen threw for 99 yards and completed a 70-yard TD pass to Scott Hoover.