Irvine, Wind Blow Ventura Out of Football Playoffs

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Quarterback Jason Minici’s 94-yard touchdown pass ignited a third-quarter scoring burst that lifted Irvine High to a 37-18 win over Ventura on Saturday night in a Southern Section Division II football quarterfinal at Irvine High.

Irvine (10-2) scored three touchdowns in the third quarter to advance to the semifinals Saturday against Muir.

Ventura, co-champion of the Channel League, finished 9-3.

The teams scored all of their first-half points with a strong wind at their backs before Minici turned the game around by teaming with wide receiver Jon Peck on a 94-yard touchdown pass that pushed Irvine ahead, 24-10.


The tandem combined for another touchdown two minutes later, this time connecting on a 26-yard scoring play that gave Irvine a 31-10 lead.

Ventura never seriously threatened again.

Ventura came into the game averaging 386 yards a game--including 274 yards rushing--but the Cougars had problems getting untracked against Irvine’s defense, which was helped by the strong wind.

Quarterback Trevor Rumsey had 178 yards passing but also threw two interceptions. Running back Derek Swafford, who had rushed for 1,085 yards, was held to 63 yards in 11 carries.

“The wind made us a little more one-dimensional than usual,” Ventura Coach Harvey Kochel said.

Irvine had no problems moving the ball in the second half. Minici had only 29 yards passing in the first half but burned Ventura’s secondary for 192 yards in the second half. He completed 13 of 17 passes for 221 yards and threw only two incomplete passes in the second half.

Running back Scott Seal was equally effective on the ground. Seal had 46 yards rushing at halftime but finished with 190 in 33 carries. Seal scored two of his three touchdowns in the second half.