Santa Ana Leaves Saddleback Frustrated at Goal Line


Santa Ana’s offense needed a trick play but the defense came up with the big plays as the Dons beat Saddleback, 21-17, in a Mission Conference Central Division game Saturday at Santa Ana Stadium.

Saddleback (1-6, 1-1 in the division) had a first down at the Santa Ana two-yard line with less than two minutes left but failed to score on four consecutive running plays.

Saddleback’s Julio Peraza (121 yards in 34 carries) carried on the first two plays for one yard. Saddleback called its last time out before third down, then quarterback Nick Tomasello was stopped trying to leap into the end zone.

There was still about 30 seconds left on fourth down but Saddleback hurried a play and Tomasello was stopped short of the end zone by a defensive surge led by lineman Rick Hewitson.


“That [series] was unbelievable,” Hewitson said. “We left everything we had on the field.”

The stop was no surprise to Santa Ana defensive coordinator Tom Nelson. Santa Ana’s offense and defense battle at the goal line every Wednesday night and the loser has to run a 100-yard sprint.

“It’s what we prepare for,” Nelson said, “Our niche on defense is short yardage and goal line.”

Saddleback opened a 10-0 lead but Santa Ana scored twice in the third quarter to go up, 14-10. The second touchdown came on what started with running back Camron King going around the left end.

King reversed the ball to wide receiver Ron Caston who threw 28 yards to Aaron Doss for a touchdown with 3:51 left in the third quarter.

Doss was an important part of the winning touchdown as well.

Saddleback took the lead back, 17-14, about two minutes later when Tomasello threw a 29-yard scoring pass to Craig Tortorici, who took advantage of an open field after a Santa Ana defender fell.

The winning drive for Santa Ana really started when Doss punted 58 yards to the Saddleback 37 after the Dons were pinned on their five.


Tomasello then threw an incomplete pass and was sacked for a nine-yard loss by Hewitson. Peraza was stopped after two yards but an 11-yard punt gave Santa Ana a first down at the Saddleback 41. Archie Lappin threw a 28-yard pass to Caston to get to the nine. But 10 yards in penalties and a nine-yard sack had the Dons on the Saddleback 28.

Lappin then completed a 28-yard scoring pass to Doss for a 21-17 lead with 8:38 left.

In a Northern Division game:

Pasadena 35, Orange Coast 20--Host Orange Coast (3-4, 0-2) led 20-6 after the first quarter but Pasadena (4-3, 1-1) scored 22 points in the second quarter.


Casey Preston completed 23 of 31 for 333 yards and four touchdowns for Pasadena.