June 15, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Santa Ana Saints capture share of Orange Coast League championship before bye week

Santa Ana Saints take the field for a game this season. (Photo: Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone).

Santa Ana High School’s football team goes on its bye week this week after clinching at least a share of the Orange Coast League championship.

The Saints (7-2, 5-0) remained atop the league with a 70-0 victory over Saddleback Friday night at Santa Ana Stadium.

“While we are happy to be back in the mix at the top of our league, I think the team sentiment regarding the accomplishment is ‘the job is not finished,'” said Saints Coach Rory Schoonmaker on Monday.

Senior running back Charles Hughes led the way vs. Saddleback (0-8, 0-5) rushing for 122 yards on four carries and three touchdowns.

Quarterback Sergio Torres completed 3 of 5 passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns, Christian Ramos had one catch for 58 yards and a touchdown and Adrian Sanchez had two catches for 55 yards and a TD.

The defense was also outstanding, Schoonmaker said.

“Defensively as a group we gave up just under 30 yards on the game,” he said. “We had three interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) by Brian Sanchez, Luis Lopez and Andres Aguilera. We also had two sacks from Josh Preciado and Sal Alvarez.”

The Saints next opponent will be league rival Orange on Friday, Oct. 27 at Fred Kelly Stadium. Santa Ana could win the league title outright with a victory while Orange could share the crown with a win, provided the Panthers get past Costa Mesa Friday night.

Orange and St. Margaret’s, which plays at Saddleback Friday, enter the week 3-1 overall.

“Going into the bye week we are focused on ourselves; it is going to be an excellent opportunity for us to get healthy, re-focus on our conditioning and get on the field to reinforce our assignments,” Schoonmaker said.

“As a coaching staff, we are going to be spending a majority of our efforts this week on self-scouting and identifying opportunities to create more balance in our offensive and defensive schemes.”

The first-year coach has set high expectations from the start of the season. 

“The goal beyond this has always been the same for us, we are hoping to earn an opportunity to compete for a CIF championship,” Schoonmaker said. “By no means are we looking past Orange what-so-ever, they are an outstanding team with great athletes who are motivated and hungry.  While we are excited for the match up and the high-level of competition, we also know our season doesn’t end in week 10 win, lose, or draw.”

Orange has won the last two Orange Coast League championships. Three teams from the league are guaranteed berths in the CIF playoffs, although some, including Calvary Chapel (2-2, 4-4) could be considered for at-large berths. 

It’s also possible that the Orange Coast League teams will be in different playoff divisions.

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