Hitting hard and giving up nothing, Dana Hills defeated University, 10-0, Friday night at Irvine High for its first victory of the season.
University (0-3) gained 140 yards total offense but never advanced past the Dolphins' 16-yard line. That made for a long evening for Trojan quarterback Chris Peake, who completed nine of 16 passes for 86 yards and left the game with 3 minutes 22 seconds to play when defensive end David Cruickshank leveled him with a crunching tackle.
It took Peake several minutes to get up and walk off the field, but he was healthy enough after the game to shake hands with Cruickshank, who wished him luck with his season.
"I was worried," Cruickshank said. "I didn't want to hurt him."
Dana Hills (1-2) got off to a slow start this season, but might have turned things around Friday. After a scoreless first quarter, the Dolphins put together their best drive of the game, going 48 yards in five plays for a touchdown. Quarterback Scott Covington, who finished nine of 15 for 93 yards, hooked up with Mike Whittaker for the eight-yard touchdown pass play to make the score, 7-0.
Neither team scored in the third quarter, but Dolphin strong safety Todd Robertson picked off his first pass of the season to halt a Trojan drive at the Dana Hills 27.
"I guess I was just in the right place at the right time," Robertson said.
Dana Hills put the game away in the fourth quarter, driving 27 yards to score its clinching points on a 23-yard field goal by Chad Darner.
"Defense is our strength," Cruickshank said. "And the offense just has to pull it together."
While the defense is waiting for that to happen, Cruickshank assures he and his tacklers will be working to turn great into perfect.
"I think we can get better," he said. "We've just got to get everything in gear and quit the mental mistakes."