Dominic Collins catches a pass over a defender from Johnny Stanton for 14 yards to the Santa Ana 44-yard line for a first down in the third quarter. (Angel Grady/Lariat)
The visiting Saddleback Gauchos cut down the Santa Ana Dons 37-14 for a third straight win last Saturday. The Gauchos were unable to get the shut out they had hoped for, but they dominated the game from the beginning making their record 3-2 for the season and 2-0 within the Orange Empire Conference.
Sophomore quarterback Johnny Stanton was able to throw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Marshall on the first drive of the game, giving the Gauchos an early 7-0 lead. After the Gauchos defense played with force, not allowing the Dons to score, Stanton kept up the momentum with a seven yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Dominic Collins.
“Coach called my number,” said Collins. “And luckily it was a good throw and a good catch and we executed perfectly.”
The game continued to move further into Saddleback’s favor as their points kept climbing on the board. Santa Ana was no match for the Gaucho’s defense. Saddleback led 24-0 at half time.
On the sidelines the Gauchos were hoping for a shut out, but in the middle of the third quarter the Dons finally scored with a 48-yard interception return for a touchdown. Though the Gauchos were disappointed with the interception, they were still confident the victory was theirs.
“It’s not supposed to happen at all, we’re supposed to blow this team out really,” said running back Kendall Palmore. “They’re not supposed to score at all, but we still goin’ win the game. We good.”
Fellow Gauchos are pleased with their quarterback’s performance in Saturday night’s game. Stanton finished the game with 26 completions over 48 attempts over 236 passing yards and two touchdown passes. He also had 76 yards and a run in touchdown of his own.
“He got the name. He has the look. He’s the man so far,” said running back Matt Brock. “He’s been our leader from the beginning and he’s going to lead us through the season.”
Saddleback’s offense was on fire and kept the gas pedal going for the duration of the game. Collins led all receivers with eight catches and 83 yards. Jojo Binda led for rushing with twelve carries for 62 yards.
Though, the offense had an outstanding performance, the defense did their job perfectly and complimented each other well. The defense was able to hold the Dons with zero points on the board all the way to the middle of the third quarter. Freshman linebacker Karson Block had a game high eight tackles, for a defense that gave up only seven points. Saddleback’s head coach was happy with the way the team executed.
“I’m just real proud of our kids, they hung in there,” said head coach Mark McElroy. “They battled all night, and we can home with the victory. Now we’re 2-0 in conference”
The Saddleback Gauchos will go for their fourth straight victory against Canyons College at home Saturday at 6 p.m.