May 29, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Santa Ana football team looking for one more victory to reach CIF Division 8 finals

Patrick McMorris (left) and Julian Gomez lead the Saints into the semifinals. (File photo: Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone).

Santa Ana’s football team needs one more victory Friday night on the road against Kaiser to reach the CIF Division 8 finals.

The No. 3-seeded Saints (10-2) take on Kaiser (11-1) in the semifinals on Friday night in Fontana with the winner moving on to face the winner of the other semifinal between Alta Loma and Arcadia.

“Kaiser High School is a very athletic and tough football team that has a long football tradition of winning,” said Santa Ana Coach Charlie TeGantvoort.

The Saints coach said his players have been preparing well this week.  

“Practice has been great,” he said. “We are just working hard and trying to get better every day.”

TeGantvoort said the Saints must keep do what they’ve been doing in two previous playoff victories over Fountain Valley (48-26) and Temecula Valley (21-19).

“The key to winning this game will be simple,” he said. “We need to play very tough, very disciplined, and score more points than they do.”

The Saints are led by all-purpose back Patrick McMorris, who has rushed for 1,516 yards and hauled in 17 catches for 375 yards in seven games.

Quarterback Julian Gomez, who also plays linebacker, has been a great leader for the Saints too. He has passed for 1,496 yards and thrown eight touchdowns and also rushed for 462 yards.

Senior Drew Ramirez has been outstanding too, rushing for 1,088 yards and four touchdowns and hauling in 47 catches for 502 yards.

Jesus Cruz and Nicholas Larriva are among the other offensive threats for Santa Ana.

Santa Ana reached the Division 12 finals last year, but lost to Big Bear, 45-17, in the semifinals. Big Bear went on to win the Division 12 title defeating Santa Maria 37-23.

Santa Ana was moved up to Division 8 this year.

Kaiser has had success on the ground this year. The leading rusher is senior Christian Hunter, who has rushed for 2,769 yards and 41 touchdowns.

Sophomore guard Trey Tribble  has rushed for 788 yards on 99 carries, five touchdowns and thrown for 849 yards and 11 touchdowns.

The Cats defeated Sultana 41-24 and then topped San Dimas 28-6 in the quarterfinals.

SANTA ANA’S NICK LARRIVA RECEIVES SECOND OFFER FROM WYOMING

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