May 29, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Marina’s running game dominates in 34-25 victory over Laguna Hills

Marina players rally around (No. 4) Pharoah Rush as he scores the Vikings’ first touchdown of the game. 

Marina’s running game was too much for Laguna Hills to handle Thursday night in a nonleague game at Westminster.

Pharoah Rush had 196 yards and three touchdowns and Brantt Riederich rushed for 133 yards and one TD to lead the Vikings to a 34-25 victory.

To see the slide show, please click on the first photo.

The game ended with some ill feelings when Marina scored with less than a minute left.

The hero of the game was Rush, a junior who was very hard to stop.

“It was pure instinct and I was just following my blocks,” Rush said. “I can’t do anything without my linemen, so I have to thank them. It’s pretty big, it’s the first home game of the year so it’s phenomenal.

“In the first half, we were losing and then we came back in the second half and just took the ball game over.”

A 7-yard TD by Rush with 10:56 left in the second quarter put Marina ahead 8-3 following a 2-point run by Gavin Dykema.

However Laguna Hills (1-1) countered when quarterback Matt Der Torossian connected with Mitch Leigber on TD passes of 50 and 72 yards to put the Hawks ahead 18-8.

Riederich’s 1-yard TD closed the gap to 18-15 midway through the third quarter.

Then Rush had touchdown runs of 1 and 36 yards in the final quarter to put the Vikings ahead 28-18.

Laguna Hills cut the lead to 28-25 when back-up QB Hayden McKenna connected with Leigber on a 7-yard TD pass. The Hawks were unable to recover an onside kick.

“It took a little while for them to wake up and start gelling,” said Marina Coach Jeff Turley. “We made a lot stupid mistakes. The funniest thing is they were senior mistakes. But we bounced back and made adjustments and the kids executed that and did a good job.”

Quarterback Jack Miller passed for 96 yards for Marina.

Both teams were victimized by turnovers. Marina had two and Laguna Hills had three. Der Torossian passed for 160 yards and two touchdowns for the Hawks, who were coming off a 46-6 victory over University last week.

Marina scored in the final minute when back-up quarterback John Robinson scored on a 1-yard TD run. The Vikings took a knee on the point after.

“We had a terrible week of practice; every practice was bad and they showed up and they played like it,” said Laguna Hills Coach Mike Maceranka. “That was the frustrating part. You play a team that’s not used to winning and they don’t know how to win at the end. To put it in when they could take a knee was a bush league play. Eventually, they might learn how to win.”

Turley, informed of Maceranka’s comment, said the plan was for his back-up quarterback to take a knee, not score a touchdown.

“I’m looking at the clock waiting for the clock to get down to two seconds and the next thing I turn around, he’s running into the end zone,” Turley said. “He was supposed to back up and take a knee. We were wedged to protect him so he could wait two seconds and take a knee and the game is over. That was a senior who took it upon himself to want to get a touchdown, not what were planning to do.”

LH        03    15       00      07        25
MH      00     08      07      19        34
Rushing: LH Der Torossian 4-23
MH Rush 38-196, Riederich 17-133
Passing: LH Der Torossian 7-28-3, 160 yards, 2 TDs.
MH Miller 8-18-2, 96 yards
Receiving: LH Leigber 6-139, Hurley 2-14
MH Pendleton 3-56 Rojes 2-8