Trabuco Hills High School spotted Costa Mesa a 12-0 lead in the first quarter, more points than Trabuco Hills had allowed in its past 3 games.
However, it proved to be little more than a minor hinderance as Trabuco Hills rallied for an easy-looking, 28-12 Pacific Coast League victory Thursday night at Mission Viejo High.
A fumble on the opening kickoff by Trabuco Hills’ Rick Sparks led to a 1-yard touchdown run by Costa Mesa’s Manny Bonilla and a 6-0 lead.
Rich Schones, Costa Mesa’s 5-foot 8-inch quarterback, connected on a 77-yard touchdown pass to David Salliday with 2:01 left in the first quarter, putting Costa Mesa ahead, 12-0.
And it appeared the Costa Mesa (2-4-1 overall, 1-1 in league play) was on its way to an upset victory.
But Trabuco Hills (6-1, 2-0) never got flustered and crept back into the game with a 1-yard touchdown run by Blaine Parks that brought the Mustangs to within 12-7 with 8:39 left in the half.
A little trickery gave Trabuco Hills the lead for good. With 1:18 left in the half, quarterback David Lowery threw a lateral to receiver Tim Manning, who threw a bullet pass to a wide-open James Aguirre for a 43-yard touchdown.
Costa Mesa opened the third quarter by driving to the Trabuco Hills’ 15, but a botched pitchout killed the drive.
Schones, who threw for 141 yards and ran for 79 more, tried a blind pitch that bounced once off the turf and into the waiting arms of Trabuco Hills’ Danon Gibson, who returned it 82 yards for a score and a 21-12 lead.
Lowery, who completed 9 of 22 passes for 122 yards, connected with Aguirre for an 8-yard score with a 5:59 left in the third quarter to put Trabuco Hills ahead, 28-12.
Manning, who had 2 interceptions to increase his season total to 8, said he wasn’t worried when Costa Mesa got out to an early lead.
“Not with our offense and our defense,” he said. “It was just a matter of getting one big play.”
Still, Bonilla--who rushed for a game-high 107 yards in 20 carries--and Schones gave Trabuco Hills fits in the first quarter.
“It’s not like we didn’t work on stopping him in practice this week,” Trabuco Hills Coach Jim Barnett said.