May 24, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Santa Ana High coach’s 300th win represented all that is good about high school sports

Santa Ana players douse Coach Joe Peñaflor with water after Wednesday’s match. (Photo Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone)

Santa Ana High boys soccer coach Joe Peñaflor was doused with a bucket of water, then the Saints players used small water bottles to squirt more water on him Wednesday after a 4-1 Orange Coast League victory over Costa Mesa at Santa Ana Stadium.

Peñaflor, celebrating career win number 300, loved every minute.

Shortly after that, he addressed his players, family members and adminstrators trying to hold back tears and telling them how much this moment meant to him and how special these players, and the ones who played before them, meant.

We sometimes hear and read things about high school sports that aren’t so good.

Wednesday’s event represented all that is good about high school sports. A well-respected coach, who took over for his father about 20 years ago, gets his 300th win. And the players who respect him so much, show their gratitude with hugs, cheers, smiles…..and lots of water.

Peñaflor has always been there for them. They were there for him Wednesday.

You will probably be hearing more about this talented team, which is 5-0 atop the league standings, in the coming weeks. The players and Peñaflor want to capture the league title, then set their sights on a CIF title. Santa Ana is ranked No. 7 in this week’s CIF Division 1 title.

Peñaflor certainly wouldn’t mind another dousing or two.


—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone;