June 25, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Santa Ana’s offense clicks in decisive league win but ‘we can do better,’ coach says

Santa Ana was led by Charles Hughes (left) and Sergio Torres in the victory over Costa Mesa. (Photos: Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone).

Santa Ana High School’s football team lit up the scoreboard at Santa Ana Stadium Thursday night to remain in undisputed possession of first place in the Orange Coast League.

The Saints jumped out to a 28-7 halftime lead and went on to defeat Costa Mesa 49-10.

Santa Ana (6-2, 4-0) was called for 13 penalties but it didn’t cost the Saints, who had too much offensive firepower led by running back Charles Hughes, who equaled his career high with five touchdowns while rushing for 150 yards and quarterback Sergio Torres, who passed for 251 yards and a TD.

“I like the result, I like the outcome, not very satisfied with the performance, I think we set higher standards for ourselves,” said Santa Ana Coach Rory Schoonmaker. “I think we could have performed better tonight and I feel our players know that. Frankly, we did not have a phenomenal week of practice and those kind of things show. Not our best, but we’re happy with wins but we know we can do better.”

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Santa Ana has a league game next week vs. Saddleback on homecoming, then has a bye before meeting Orange in a league showdown in the final week on Friday, Oct. 27 at Fred Kelly Stadium. Orange and St. Margaret’s are tied for second in the league.

End result from Thursday was another high scoring effort by the Saints, who were in control from the start.

“I know the O-line did great tonight,” Schoonmaker said. “The passing game kind of loosened things up, especially late in the middle, we want to definitely make sure we’re giving him (Torres) less hits, so it was nice to be able to spread him out sideline to sideline with some of our passing game.”

Junior Cristian Ramos hauled in eight catches for 149 yards to help the Saints move the ball into scoring position.

“Their (Ramos and Torres) relationship has been building throughout the year, Sergio had a great night tonight in terms of his reads,” Schoonmaker said. “The more balanced we are, the more we’re going to be able to be effective in the long run which is the goal.”

Hughes had TD runs of 1, 12 and 20 yards in the first half to put the Saints ahead 21-0.

Costa Mesa (2-5, 1-2) was plagued by nine penalties in the first half and 13 in the game but scored when Edward Franco scored on a 16-yard TD run in the second quarter. But Hughes countered with a 14-yard TD run to put the Saints ahead 28-7 at halftime.

The Mustangs recovered when Santa Ana fumbled the ball on the opening kickoff of the second half but the drive stalled at the Saints’ 13-yard line and the Mustangs settled for a 30-yard field goal by Franco.

Hughes also had an 18-yard TD run in the third quarter, Gabriel Ramirez had a 15-yard TD run and Torres hooked up with Anthony Acosta to complete the scoring.

“I think the defense could have done a better job but overall offensive wise we came here and followed our game plan and obviously we put points on the board every single chance we had and we did our thing and it’s on to next week and fix whatever we can during the week,” said Torres, the Saints QB. “Cristian Ramos and I, I feel like we just have that natural chemistry toward one another. He helps a lot.”

Hughes was also pleased with the win.

“It was a pretty good win, I feel like we just dominated everything we were supposed to do,” Hughes said. “We just could have taken it up to another level, I feel like we’re a big play team and we could have made bigger plays today. But we still executed what we were supposed to do, we just needed those big plays for our ego.

“The line was really doing their thing again for me and got us all to that five (TDs) again so that’s a really good thing for us. I think we’re really rolling, we’re on a winning streak I believe and I think we can take it and win it all with what we have now.”

Franco led Costa Mesa, rushing for 92 yards on 12 carries. Costa Mesa QB Andrew Waiss passed for 63 yards.

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