June 15, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Countdown begins for Santa Ana vs. Orange league showdown at Fred Kelly Stadium

The Orange vs. Santa Ana showdown will yet again have Orange Coast League title implications. Outright or shared? The answer will be determined in Fred Kelly Stadium Friday Oct. 27. (Photos and Illustration: Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone).

(First in a series of previews for Friday’s game)

Santa Ana and Orange football teams are gearing up for their annual Orange Coast League showdown Friday night at Fred Kelly Stadium which will have major implications on the league title picture.

The contest, which has developed into a fierce county rivalry game, starts at 7 p.m. It will be Orange’s home game.

The game is traditionally the last league match-up of the season involving the two teams who have dominated the league in recent years.

Due to the Orange County realignment planned for next season, it could be the last league game between the two teams.

Santa Ana, coached by first year head coach Rory Schoonmaker, has already clinched a share of the league title. The Saints can win the title outright with a victory Friday. Santa Ana (7-2, 5-0) had a bye last week.

Orange, coached by Robert Pedroza, is currently tied for second place with St. Margaret’s. St. Margaret’s, which handed Orange (5-4, 4-1) its only league loss, could also earn a share of the title if it defeats Calvary Chapel Friday at home and Orange tops Santa Ana.

St. Margaret’s, coached by Dan O’Shea, is 5-4 overall and 4-1 in league.

Three teams are guaranteed berths in the CIF playoffs. At-large spots are also possible for teams that finish with a .500 overall record.

Digital tickets may be purchased through the GoFan app.

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League games

Santa Ana (7-2, 5-0): Defeated St. Margaret’s 49-36, Estancia 40-6, Calvary Chapel 49-0, Costa Mesa 49-10 and Saddleback 70-0.

Orange (5-4, 4-1): Defeated Saddleback by forfeit, lost to St. Margaret’s 28-22, defeated Calvary Chapel 56-29, defeated Estancia 59-20 and defeated Costa Mesa 51-6.

Top players

Santa Ana: The Saints are led by running back Charles Hughes, who has scored five touchdowns in a game twice this season and is averaging 128 yards rushing a game. He’s rushed for 1,025 yards and scored 20 touchdowns this season and has seen limited duty in the second half because of the big leads the Saints had.

Quarterback Sergio Torres has 1,527 passing yards and 17 touchdowns this year and receiver Cristian Ramos is averaging almost 96.7 yards a game in receptions and has scored 10 touchdowns. Ramos has 42 catches for 870 yards.

Orange: The Panthers are led by running back Ardwon Morris who is averaging 223 yards a game and scored seven touchdowns vs. Estancia. He has rushed for 1,786 yards and 24 touchdowns.

Quarterback Hype Grand has rushed for 562 yards seven touchdowns and passed for 440 yards and four touchdowns.

Orange is looking for its fourth CIF title. The Panthers won the CIF Division 13 title in 2017, defeating Silver Valley 30-20 at Fred Kelly Stadium.

Last season

Orange won its second straight league title, defeating Santa Ana 35-0 at Santa Ana Stadium.

Click here for photos and story

Check back this week for more previews and on Friday night for full coverage, including photos and game story on OC Sports Zone. Follow us on X @ocsportszone for bonus coverage.

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