Santa Ana Valley defensive back Gerardo Alvarado intercepted a pass on the Falcon 20-yard line with 55 seconds left to end University’s second-half rally and preserve a 20-14 victory Thursday night at Irvine High School.
Santa Ana Valley (1-0) took a 20-0 lead in the first half and held on as Ricco Roberson keyed University’s second-half comeback with his running and passing. His final pass was intercepted by Alvarado.
The Falcons took advantage of University’s mistakes in the early going and took a 20-0 lead behind quarterback Tristan Lynch and running back Dwayne Cherrington.
Lynch scampered 11 yards for the game’s first score to cap a 65-yard, first-quarter drive, aided by a 15-yard penalty against University. Cherrington scored his first of two touchdowns, a 21-yard run, after teammate Alexander Maia recovered a Roberson fumble on the Trojan 48-yard line.
Cherrington (126 yards in 29 carries) scored his second touchdown, a 25-yard run, early in the first quarter for a 20-0 lead.
Roberson (122 yards in 18 carries) moved from running back to quarterback in the second half and drove the Trojans into scoring position with a 52-yard pass to teammate Jamie Polidore. Three plays later, starting quarterback Dov Herbstman scored on a one-yard run.
After the Falcons failed to score on a first-and-goal situation from the University six, the Trojans drove 97 yards, with Herbstman hitting Polidore with a 14-yard scoring pass with 4:43 left in the game.
University got the ball for one last try after a Valley field goal attempt misfired on the 30 and drove to the Falcon 34 on a 19-yard pass from Roberson to Herbstman. Alvarado followed with his game-saving play.