May 29, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Trabuco Hills heads to CIF D8 semifinals after knocking off San Gorgonio 34-7

Trabuco Hills quarterback Aidan Armstrong goes for a gain in Friday’s game. (Photos courtesy Rob Cuddy)

Trabuco Hills football team is off to the semifinal round of the CIF Division 8 playoffs to host top-seeded Sunny Hills on Friday.

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

The Mustangs have put together one of the most dramatic turnarounds in Orange County this season, and Friday night they had every intention of continuing their historic run.

The Mustangs offense scored TDs on their first four possessions and their defense shut out the potent San Gorgonio offense in the second half and went on to capture a 34-7 victory.

San Gorgonio came into the game with a 9-2 record and were co-champions of the San Andreas league. They defeated Canyon (Anaheim) the previous week 25-21.

The Mustang defense started out strong forcing the Spartans into a three and out. The Mustang offense then got rolling when quarterback Jaxon Smaler connected with wide receiver Jake Naso on a screen pass for a 36 yard gain. Running back Drew Barrett scored on the next play from four yards out to make it 7-0.

San Gorgonio tied the scored when Spartan quarterback Seth Burbine connected with WR Demajae Mitchell for a 66-yard TD pass to tie the score.

The Mustangs (8-4) countered with a seven play drive that finished with Mason Fishel’s 2 yard TD run to make it 14-7.

The Mustang defense stepped up on the next drive when Trabuco’s Quinton Price intercepted Burbine to setup the Mustangs with excellent field position. Six plays later Smaler found Naso for a 66-yard TD pass to give Trabuco Hills a 21-7 lead.

After Trabuco Hills forced a Spartan three and out, Trabuco Hills quarterback Aiden Armstrong took an option read through the Spartan defense for a 35- yard run. Drew Barrett walked into the end zone on the next play from one yard out for his second score of the night.

The Spartans threatened late in the second half, but Trabuco Hills defensive back Justin Avilez forced a fumble on the 5 yard line that was picked up by teammate Nathan Flournoy to put Trabuco Hills ahead 28-7 at halftime.

San Gorgonio had a promising drive to start the second half but it failed to produce points when Burbine was intercepted in the end zone by Trabuco’s Justin Avilez.

Senior kicker Luke Holland added two field goals in the second half to account for the final margin. Trabuco Hills heads back to the semifinals for the first time since 2014 when they won the Division 4 CIF championship. The Mustangs will face Sunny Hills who defeated Trabuco earlier in the season in overtime, 41-34.

–Courtesy Trabuco Hills football