Michael Wynn prefers to be called by his full given name, primarily because his mom prefers it that way.
“She gets mad when she sees it printed as Mike,” San Fernando’s junior quarterback said. “I guess that’s what we have to go with.”
The last name is a little easier, with no haze surrounding its pronunciation, and the fog that had obscured a clear estimation of his ability is lifting, too, as San Fernando defeated Taft, 31-15, in the Northwest Valley Conference opener for both teams at San Fernando on Friday night.
Consider the way it rolls off the tongue, almost as smoothly as he rolls out on a pass:
As in, “Just Wynn, baby.”
Friday, it was basically just Wynn and teammate Sean Williams, a senior receiver, who leveled the Toreadors (1-2).
Wynn, in his best performance of his young varsity career, completed 9 of 17 passes for 168 yards and 2 touchdowns. But then, without Williams, Wynn and San Fernando (2-2) might have gone winless.
Williams hauled in all but one of Wynn’s passes to help turn a close game at halftime--San Fernando held a 10-7 lead--into a blowout.
“We got together at the half, went around the corner and talked it out,” said Wynn. “We had to. This was a must-win game.”
No pun intended.
Williams finished with 8 receptions for 159 yards and had touchdowns of 23 and 17 yards for the Tigers. Wynn’s talk with Williams worked wonders as San Fernando scored 21 second-half points.
“He came to me and said, ‘It’s gotta be us,’ ” Williams said. “He said, ‘We gotta go with it. They’re getting too close.’ ”
It did not stay close for long.
On the third play of the third quarter, Williams beat Chad Petrilli on a post pattern and Wynn hit him with a 23-yard pass to give San Fernando a 17-7 lead.
The Tigers, ranked fourth in the Valley by The Times, then took a 24-7 lead after Taft’s Adam Zutler missed on a 27-yard field-goal attempt with 10:25 left in the third. San Fernando drove to the Taft 17, where Wynn again hit Williams, who beat James Jackson in the right corner of the end zone.
Petrilli, the Toreador backup quarterback, had a pass intercepted on Taft’s next possession by linebacker Keary Johns, who ran from the San Fernando 47 to the Taft 12. One play later, Max Garcia scored inside from 4 yards to give San Fernando a 31-7 lead.
Taft senior quarterback Rich Cosentino had his best night of the season, passing for 195 yards (completing 13 of 27) before having the wind knocked out of him late in the fourth quarter. Uda Walker was his prime target, catching 6 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown.
Yet as successful as Cosentino and Walker were, Wynn and Williams were tuned in on the highest possible wavelength.
“No one could stick him,” Wynn said of Williams. “He’s so deceiving and so fast that he even screws me up sometimes. And he’s even more dangerous in the open field.
“After he gets the ball, whew!”
Despite struggling offensively in the first half, San Fernando managed to take a 10-7 lead. San Fernando Coach Tom Hernandez said he told the team at the half that they had blown too many opportunities and that something had better happen--fast.
“We should have scored a couple of more times in the first half,” Hernandez said. “But I knew if we kept hanging on, pretty soon something would happen.”