Dick Hill, Santa Ana High School coach, has been trying to tell people all season just how good Saint quarterback Eric Turner is.
Perhaps now they’ll listen.
Thursday night in front of 4,000 in Santa Ana Stadium, Turner outplayed Todd Marinovich, regarded as one of Orange County’s best quarterbacks, to lead Santa Ana to a 20-14 come-from-behind nonleague victory over Mater Dei.
Turner, a 6-foot 5-inch, 200-pound senior, completed 9 of 17 attempts for 187 yards and 3 touchdowns. Two of the scoring passes came in the final 9:27 as Santa Ana rallied from a 14-6 deficit for its first victory in three games.
Meanwhile, sophomore Marinovich threw for 105 yards, had three interceptions and committed a fumble as Mater Dei fell to 1-2. The Monarchs had five turnovers overall.
“Eric Turner is all football player,” Hill said. “He isn’t at the top of the county statistics yet, but he will be now that our receivers are holding onto the ball.”
Marinovich, who completed 10 of 19 attempts, put Mater Dei ahead 14-6 on the first play of the final quarter when he hit a diving Tony Rocco on a 13-yard touchdown pass play.
Mater Dei forced Santa Ana to punt on its ensuing possession, but fumbled Turner’s kick at the Saint 47. On the next play, Turner hit Hector Olivares for a 42-yard gain moving the ball to the Monarch 11. Two plays later Turner connected with Olivares for an 11-yard touchdown. Santa Ana’s try for a 2-point conversion failed, and it was 14-12 with 9:27 left.
Paul Hurley’s second interception of Marinovich gave Santa Ana the ball at its own 30 with 4:20 to play, and the Saints capitalized on the turnover. Turner hit Olivares for a 33-yard gain to move the ball to Mater Dei’s 26, and from their Turner and Oscar Tavares combined on a touchdown pass play to give Santa Ana the lead for the first time since the second quarter at 18-14.
Hill elected to go for two points again, and Turner made it look like a wise decision when he completed the conversion pass to Royal Wilbon to make it 20-14 with 3:03 left.
The Monarchs had time to rally, but Santa Ana’s defense wouldn’t let them. Mater Dei got one first down on a pass interference call, but couldn’t get another. Santa Ana took possession and ran out the clock.