June 15, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Trabuco Hills slows down Irvine’s offense to capture third win in a row

Taylor Bowie of Trabuco Hills powers for yards against Irvine. Noah Barrett (No. 85) provides a block. (Photos courtesy Jim Tomlin, For OC Sports Zone).

Trabuco Hills High School football team found a way to slow down Irvine’s high powered offense in a non-league game Friday night at Irvine Stadium.

The Mustangs captured a 16-8 victory over Irvine, which was averaging 38 points a game and had scored 42 and 43 points in its last two games.

Trabuco Hills (3-0) had several chances to add on to its lead, but in the end, the defense turned out to be the difference in the end against Irvine (3-1).

“I would like for our offense to finish those drives and get some more points on the board and help us out, but our defense bailed us out every time,” said Trabuco Hills Coach Mark Nolan.

“Overall, I thought our kids played hard, they competed and at times we ran the ball real effectively. That’s a big, physical, well-coached team at Irvine. We feel fortunate to hold them to eight points.

“Our defense was lights out all night. I thought special teams at times was really, really good and other times, we kind of struggled there a little bit.”

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

Trabuco Hills also got some solid offensive performances from quarterback Jacob Perry (147 yards passing, one TD), running back Taylor Bowie (125 yards rushing, one TD) and receiver Mikey Gray (two catches for 53 yards, one TD).

“I got to give respect to the defense and the O-line,” Perry said. “And Taylor Bowie is the best running back in Orange County.”

The difference in the game turned out to be a 46-yard TD pass from Perry to Gray that put the Mustangs ahead 16-8 midway through the third quarter.

“They gave us that zone look and this time I read it and boom, popped it, and Mikey Gray did the rest of it,” Perry said.

Ethan Schwartz had a 37-yard field goal attempt, but missed two and Irvine blocked a third attempt late in the fourth quarter. Cyrus Doherty was credited with the block and Joseph Tierney recovered.

However, Irvine gave the ball back a few plays later on a fumble near midfield. The Vaqueros had one final chance following another missed field goal with 45 seconds left but the drive ended at the Mustangs 20-yard line as time expired.

Bowie helped Trabuco Hills move out to a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard TD run in the first quarter. Irvine battled back when quarterback Khoa Bui connected with Deacon Moss on a 35-yard TD pass. Bui then ran in for the 2-point conversion giving Irvine an 8-7 lead.

The field goal by Schwartz put the Mustangs ahead 10-8 and then the third quarter TD gave them an eight point cushion.

Irvine Coach Tom Ricci was encouraged by his team’s play.

“This was our benchmark to see where we are right now, if we can compete with a team like Trabuco within one touchdown, then we’re going to be OK,” said Ricci. “I thought our kids defensively held with them really well, offensively we had some mistakes that we struggled capitalizing on afterwards.

“I feel we can continue to build on. Like I told the kids, I’m going to sleep well tomorrow knowing that we battled hard and the kids gave me everything they had, there’s nothing more you can ask for than that.”

Figueroa wound up with 78 yards rushing on 16 carries but was banged up late in the game, Ricci said. Moss had six catches for 95 yards and Bui had 147 yards passing.

Ryan Luce had a 73-yard kick-off return on the opening play of the game for Trabuco Hills but the Mustangs came away empty handed after a missed field goal.

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