Marina football repeats as Big 4 League champion
For all that the Marina High School football program accomplished last season, the current version of the Vikings had one thing left to do that did not happen the year prior.
Marina earned a 41-7 victory over host Segerstrom to repeat as champion of the Big 4 League, and in the process, ended the season on a win.
In winning the CIF Southern Section Division 11 championship, the program’s first CIF title, last season was historic.
The season that was played out this spring will go down in history on its own merits — for what it took to get there due to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as for the gratitude the team felt to have a six-week season amid all that uncertainty.
Marina coach Jeff Turley said that a standard is continuing to be set within the program, one that started with what he called “a very gifted senior class” last year.
“That’s all you can ask for,” Turley said. “That’s what you want to do to build a program is get a standard set and have kids keep trying to live up to that standard, and if you do that, you’re going to get successful, and it’s going to keep snowballing.”
Seniors starred in the league championship repeat performance for the Vikings (5-1, 3-0 in the Big 4 League), who capped the season with a five-game winning streak.
Brantt Riederich exploded for 181 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while also making three catches for 50 yards. His night included a 65-yard rushing touchdown on a third-and-20 carry up the middle that he broke out to the left sideline.
“I just have one goal in mind, and that’s to get to the end zone,” said Riederich, who intimated that he believes he has played his last football game.
“I definitely have to thank everyone, [offensive] line, receivers and all that. Blocking is not the easiest thing, and I know that, so them really getting their hands on someone helps out a lot.”
Jack Miller completed passes to six receivers, compiling 229 passing yards and three touchdowns. His leading receiver was Wyatt McClour with 67 yards.
Dane Brenton made both of his catches count, as they went for touchdowns of 12 and 17 yards. Gavin Dykema added three grabs for 61 yards, including a leaping reception for a 21-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
“For the longest time, Marina football [had] been the floormat of the Sunset League,” Miller said. “My first year, as a sophomore, we went 3-7 and we [finished third in the Big 4] League, and to just bounce back and to grow at the same time has been a blessing. All these guys are my family, so just to do this with them, it means the world to me.”
Facing a run-heavy offense against Segerstrom (2-1), the Vikings got downhill and made a handful of plays in the backfield.
Micah Asato had 1½ sacks, and Owen Strampello and Riederich each recorded one full sack. Alfonso Vega and Simon Tsu also had solo tackles for a loss.
There were three touchdowns scored within a span of 26 seconds in the fourth quarter, beginning with Riederich’s 65-yard run. During the stretch, Segerstrom scored its lone touchdown on a kickoff return by Allan Serrano.
The Jaguars attempted to execute a pooch kick right after, but it was taken back for a touchdown by Marina’s Luke Lastra.
“It’s a ton of adrenaline,” Asato said of the defensive performance. “It’s a blast.”
In a fast-moving first half, Marina did just enough offensively to keep the Segerstrom running game from controlling the clock and keeping the game close.
The Vikings worked their way out of a second-down-and-30 hole from their own 35-yard-line. Passes from Miller to McClour and Dykema helped move the sticks, and Riederich found the end zone from 10 yards out to open the scoring with 2:42 left in the first quarter.
Segerstrom had to wait even longer than most teams to get its season started, as a positive COVID-19 test within the program resulted in the cancellation of two games.
The Jaguars, however, earned wins against Garden Grove and Westminster to earn the right to play for the league title on Friday night.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of these kids, their resiliency, just continually taking adversity one step at a time and just constantly moving forward,” Segerstrom coach Joe Tagaloa said before the game.
“Nobody has hung their head, nobody has pointed fingers, nobody feels sorry for themselves. These kids are mentally tough, and they just keep working out here, and they’re here to compete.”
Big 4 League
Marina 41, Segerstrom 7
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Marina 7 – 7 – 14 – 13 – 41
Segerstrom 0 – 0 – 0 – 7 – 7
M – Riederich 10 run (L. Lastra kick), 2:42.
M – Brenton 12 pass from Miller (L. Lastra kick), 3:48.
M – Brenton 17 pass from Miller (L. Lastra kick), 7:43
M – Dykema 21 pass from Miller (L. Lastra kick), 2:50.
M – Riederich 65 run (Keidel kick), 11:14.
S – Serrano 86 kick return (Garcia), 11:00.
M – L. Lastra 66 kick return (Keidel kick failed), 10:48.
M – Riederich, 15-181, 2 TDs.
S – Mota, 13-77.
M – Miller, 15-24-0, 229, 3 TDs.
S – Gonzalez, 2-4-0, 21.
M – McClour, 4-67.
S – Tagaloa, 1-14.
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