June 15, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Marina edges Segerstrom to win Big 4 title in game that included late skirmish

Marina running back Anthony Fabian heads for one of his three TDs as Segerstrom’s Roman Saucedo tries to chase him down. (Photos courtesy Mark Bausman).

Marina High School’s football team held off a second half comeback by Segerstrom to capture a 21-19 victory Friday night at Segerstrom to claim the Big Four League title outright in a game that went down to the wire.

The game, which had been cleanly played and fast moving, included a skirmish between some players from both teams in the fourth quarter on the sidelines after an interception by a Segerstrom player. It resulted in a 15-minute delay and four ejections while officials sorted out penalties.

Segerstrom Athletic Director Nick Canzone said after the game he expects game officials to make a report and recommendations on whether players will have to sit out the next game.

Play eventually resumed with no further incidents and players shook hands after the game.

Friday’s game marked a big turn-around for Marina, which was 1-9 last year.

The two teams came into the game undefeated in league and tied for first place. Both teams are headed to the CIF playoffs next week.

To see the slide show, click on the first photo:

Marina (6-4, 3-0) was led by Anthony Fabian who scored three touchdowns and rushed for 135 yards and quarterback Garrett Hunnicutt who passed for 92 yards and rushed for 94 yards. Fabian scored on TD runs of 20 and 1 yards to help the Vikings moved out to a 14-0 lead. Marina led 14-6 at halftime.

“I’m just proud that we were able to do something like win a league championship with this team,” said Marina’s first year coach Charlie TeGantvoort. “They wanted it so bad and they wanted to change and to be different and they wanted to change the culture and that only comes with these kids buying in from freshman to senior, I’m just so proud of how they were able to just overcome so much and to be league champs this year is just truly a blessing to be part of their team.”

Segerstrom (6-4, 2-1) battled all the way trying to bring home a title. The Jaguars have suffered injuries to key players including running backs Noble Acosta and Noah Tagaloa and were hoping to achieve their goal.

“We came out, we were a little flat in the first half,” said Segerstrom Coach Joseph Tagaloa. “We weren’t playing like we should have come out to play. We were very flat for some reason, but as the game got going, we kind of got going and got back into the game.

“We battled all the way until the end. We made it a close one, obviously we didn’t play very well throughout the night but our kids fought hard and I’m proud of their effort, I’m always proud of them. They’re willing to compete and not back down and continue to fight no matter what the score is. Unfortunate result but I’m proud of the way our kids played for four quarters.”

Marina had chances to add to its lead late in the game. But Segerstrom’s Jason Salazar intercepted a pass and returned it to the 20 yard-line. After the play, Marina and Segerstrom players were involved in a scuffle on the far sidelines. It was not clear from the press box what instigated the incident, but after a lengthy delay, order was restored and play resumed.

Officials did not communicate with those in the press box what had happened and no videotapes were available. TeGantvoort and Segerstrom’s Tagaloa offered differing opinions on what happened.

When play resumed, Segerstrom QB Jesse Lopez connected with Nick Cervantes on a 28-yard pass near midfield.

But on the next play, Marina’s Shayden Sorocman intercepted a pass on the Vikings 20-yard line and Marina was able to run out the clock.

“What an amazing kid, he just wanted it more than anyone else,” TeGantvoort said.

Segerstrom was led by running back Ayden Morales, who had touchdown runs of 16 in the second quarter and two yards in the fourth quarter to give the Jaguars a chance. He rushed for 61 yards on nine carries.

Isaiah Valdivia, who had a 6-yard TD in the third quarter, was Segerstrom’s leading rusher with 119 yards on 19 carries. Lopez passed for 60 yards.

Marina players celebrated the title on the field.

“We just kept the offense together and moved the ball well,” said Hunnicutt, the Marina QB. “Our line played outstanding. Our running back was breaking tackles left and right and we were executing the offense as well as we possibly could. Our defense stepped up and made some plays.

“It feels amazing (the league title) especially after the turn-around from last year after coming off a rough season, being able to turn that around is awesome.”

Tagaloa, the Jaguars coach, will now prepare his team for the playoffs.

“We will be going into the playoffs, we’re hoping to see where we’re going to land, we’re hoping to get some injured players back, we’ll see, it’s tough playing for league championships when you got several of your starters on the sideline playing,” Tagaloa said.

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