June 15, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Segerstrom seniors ‘set new bar for leadership,’ coach says following team’s loss

Segerstrom quarterback Jesse Lopez heads for the sidelines as a Torrance player pursues. (Photos courtesy Mark Bausman).

Segerstrom High School’s football team was unable to pull off an upset Friday and lost to top-seeded Torrance 30-7 in the opening round of the CIF Division 10 playoffs.

Jaguars Coach Joseph Tagaloa said his team, which finished 6-5 overall, still had plenty to be proud of.

“As a season I am tremendously proud of our guys for showing resilience and their ability to persevere,” Tagaloa said Sunday.

“It seemed like every week we lost another starter, yet our guys continued to compete. As crazy as it sounds, we did not play one single game with all of our starters and we were still in a position to play for a league championship and qualify for the playoffs. This is not an easy feat to accomplish with everyone healthy, but our guys found a way to pick each other up and rally together.

“Our seniors set a new bar for leadership and playing expectations in our program. I am grateful for them and all they did for our team. Although we are losing 32 seniors and will need to find a way to fill some big shoes, we do bring back some several starters who will now be called upon to lead our program during the off season.”

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

Tagaloa said the Jaguars were missing some key players Friday.

“Friday’s night game was definitely challenging going into it without some of our key players, but it was also a sign of what our program is built on; family. Noble Acosta is one of our captains, a two-way starter, and kick returner, but missed the majority of the season with a knee injury forcing him to have surgery on Monday, Oct. 30.

“Come Friday night he was out there on the field in his crutches and walking out for the coin toss. We were also without two more captains: Isaiah Valdivia and Mokey Leuma, which when one thinks about going into the first round of playoffs and missing three of your four captains, this is not the ideal situation. Yet our players didn’t look for excuses and instead we had multiple players step up like we have been forced to do all season.”

Segerstrom had solid some offensive efforts, the coach said.

“Offensively we played well and moved the ball, but did not get into the end zone nearly enough, which puts pressure on our defense to make plays and get us the ball back,” Tagaloa said. “Quarterback Jesse Lopez played a solid game for us connecting with multiple players all night. The big one came at the start of the second half when he threw an out route to Nick Cervantes who broke the tackle and went 80 yards for a touchdown. Our ground game was led by Noah Tagaloa playing in his first game back since Kaiser (when he was injured).

“Defensively we struggled to get off the field on third down, but played well on first and second down. Unfortunately that’s not the recipe for success on defense, but we did have some tremendous efforts. Our defensive line was led by Damien Orejel, Sonny Naiuli and Gilbert Peralta. On the back end our outside linebacker Adam Garcia flew around making plays vs. both the run and pass.

“Our special teams was led by our punt team, as they reversed field position and converted on a fake.”

Tagaloa said the team will be honored soon.

“‘We are going to recognize all of our accomplishments both as a team and individually throughout the season at our awards banquet. We will celebrate our seniors as well as our underclassmen for playing Jaguar football,” he said.

Torrance (7-4) moves on to the quarterfinals to face Redlands Friday night.