Saddleback linebacker Travis Arena celebrates his sack with his teammates. Arena led the team in tackles and sacks in the game. JPWest Media | courtesy
The Saddleback Bobcats football team kicked off their season with a 30-16 victory over the Glendale Vaqueros on Saturday, Sept. 3 in the Saddleback Stadium.
Saddleback started the game off slow, allowing a huge 75-yard touchdown on a pass from quarterback Nicholas Garcia to wide receiver Artis Cole on the second play of the game. Saddleback responded back on their first drive, scoring a touchdown on a two-yard rush by running back Kenny Manassero.
After Manassero’s touchdown early in the first, Glendale silenced Saddleback’s offense for the rest of the first half, only giving up 134 yards and a field goal for the remainder of the first half.
Saddleback’s defense stepped up and helped keep the Bobcats in the game, only allowing nine more points to make it 16-10 in the first half.
At halftime, Saddleback head coach, Kerry Crabb, spoke to his team and reminded them to focus on the game at hand and not let outside factors influence them because the results will show.
“We’ve spent a lot of time making sure that our guys can control what they can control, and not let themselves get into a situation where things get out of hand… They play better that way,” Crabb said. “Everybody was trusting and believing in each other and we had some big plays that made the difference.”
Coming out of the locker room, Saddleback needed an offensive boost and got one, with a 82 yard drive that was capped off with a touchdown pass from quarterback Dartanyon Moussiaux to wide receiver Daniel Stokes.
During the first drive of the second half, Saddleback running back Jamari Ferrell had a big 51 yard rush that ultimately helped Saddleback achieve that touchdown. Ferrell was the leading rusher of the game for both teams, finishing with 125 yards on 12 carries.
“I think the offensive line did an amazing job blocking,” Ferrell said. “That was kind of our plan all week honestly, just to punch the ball in and we stuck to that and rolled with it.”
Saddleback scored one more touchdown in the game coming from another Dartanyon Moussiaux pass but this time to wide receiver Zachary Roebuck. Saddleback kicker Connor Grace was also perfect in the game, going 3-for-3 on field goals and extra point attempts.
The Saddleback defense was solid the whole game, especially in the second half when they didn’t allow a single point to Glendale’s offense. Saddleback had seven tackles for a loss and only gave up 17 rushing yards on the day.
The defense was anchored by lineman Travis Arena, who led the team in tackles with seven and had Saddleback’s only sack of the game.
“We were working hard relentlessly this week, even with the heat going up,” Arena said. “The coaches have been pushing us this week and I think that practice showed up on the field and scoreboard this week.”
Saddleback’s win on Saturday was their 400th win in program history, dating back to 1968. Their next home game will be on Saturday, Oct. 15 vs San Diego Mesa at 6 p.m.