June 15, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Big plays help Marina capture wild non-league victory against Redlands

Marina Coach Charlie TeGantvoort and running back Anthony Fabian celebrate a win Thursday night. (Photo: Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone).

Marina High School’s football team made the big plays when it had to and held on for a 42-32 non-league victory over previously undefeated Redlands Thursday night at Westminster.

The game was still up in the air until quarterback Garrett Hunnicutt surprised Redlands with a 12-yard TD run up the middle with 3:15 remaining in the game to give the Vikings (2-2) a 10-point edge following the conversion.

Marina fumbled the ball away three times, but also forced three turnovers with three interceptions and a blocked punt set up one touchdown.

“We did get the victory, I know that for sure,” said first-year Coach Charlie TeGantvoort. “We’re really good at beating ourselves and we like to make things really hard on ourselves sometimes, but I love the effort tonight.

“Even we were messing up, we were still messing up full speed which is why we were still able to win with all our miscues.”

Hunnicutt, who passed for 92 yards, also threw a 14-yard TD pass to Payton Ekstedt that put the Vikings ahead 28-26 with 5:33 left in the third quarter. The TD came on a fourth and goal play, culminated by Ekstedt’s diving catch in the end zone.

“He’s a leader and he’s one of the kids that everybody likes, it’s his character that wins games,” TeGantvoot said of Hunnicutt. “He has ups and downs but his character is why he’s able to do big plays like that.”

Senior running back Anthony Fabian led the offensive charge for Marina with touchdown runs of 5, 2 and 7 yards. He wound up with 74 yards on 17 carries.

“Anthony is a workhorse for us and he’s a big-time, downhill running back,” TeGantvoort said. “The more he believes in himself, the better it’s going to be and he’s just getting going.”

Fabian’s third touchdown run put the Vikings ahead 35-26 with 2:33 left in the third quarter.

But Redlands got back into the game when Julien Scarborough returned a punt 35-yards for a touchdown with 8:36 left in the game to trim the lead to 35-32.

However, after taking over on their own 38-yard line, the Vikings were able to run some time off the clock and seal the win with their final TD.

“It was a very hard-fought game, all shout-out to my line, shoutout to my trainer, I couldn’t have done it without the support of my teammates …. and lifting me up when I’m feeling down or I get hurt,” said Fabian, who had four touchdowns in a game as a sophomore.

“I scored on all sides of the O-line today. I scored right, I scored left and I scored up the middle. They were all playing amazing.”

The game, which lasted nearly three hours, started with lots of scoring.

After Fabian’s 5-yard TD to open the game, Redlands struck back when quarterback Albert Suarez connected with Tyson Gaines on a 50-yard TD pass.

But on the ensuing kickoff, Micah Rhoads returned the ball 79 yards for a touchdown to put Marina ahead 14-7.

The Vikings held on to a 21-20 lead at halftime.

Shayden Sorochman had two interceptions and Ty Green one for Marina.

“They were big and we had a great kickoff return too,” TeGantvoort said. “All three phases gave great effort tonight. While we messed up a lot, the effort was on point and our character was on point also tonight. We were cheering for each other and supporting each other and when you do things like that on a team, anything is possible.”

Teddy McGee rushed for 91 yards and had TD runs of 17 and 2 yards for Redlands (3-1).

—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com