It has been a rough season for Orange coach Mark McMahon. The Panthers returned 13 starters from last year’s squad and many felt they would contend for the Pacific Coast League title.
But Orange started 0-3 and things were getting worse. Until Friday night, that is.
Quarterback Scott McMahon threw 2 touchdown passes and Orange held off Villa Park, 16-14, in a nonleague game at El Modena High School in front of 1,200 spectators.
Scott McMahon, the coach’s son, completed 13 of 18 passes for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns, both to split end Eric McKay.
“We needed this win so bad,” Coach McMahon said. “A victory like this points us in the right direction after getting off to such a poor start.”
Orange trailed, 7-6, at the half, but moved ahead on a 28-yard field goal by Sean Sutton with just over a minute to play in the third quarter. On Orange’s next possession McMahon completed a 41-yard touchdown pass to McKay, who was streaking down the sideline. Sutton kicked the extra point for a 16-7 lead.
Quarterback Chris Johnson, making his first start for Villa Park after coming back from a shoulder separation, cut the lead to 16-13 when he capped an 8-play drive by scoring a 1-yard run with 3:37 remaining. Ted Burnette added the extra point. Villa Park (1-3) was able to get the ball back with a little less than 2 minutes remaining, but was unable to move the ball into field-goal range.
Wide receiver John Priem led the Villa Park offense with 8 receptions for 130 yards. Teammate Jomo Stewart rushed for 119 yards in 20 carries. McKay led the Orange offense with 6 receptions for 134 yards.
“He has worked very hard this season,” Coach McMahon said of his son. “He’s not a real great athlete, but I’m sure proud of his effort tonight.”