May 27, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

University celebrates after 13-12 comeback win over Ocean View to end long losing streak

University players (from left) Jonathan Soto, Blaine Anderson and Ziyad Merchant teamed up on the game-winning play. (Photo: Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone)

University’s football team ended the streak Friday night with a big fourth quarter rally in front of its home fans.

The Trojans pushed across a fourth quarter touchdown to defeat Ocean View 13-12 to end the program’s 12-game losing streak and celebrated on their home field the program’s first victory since Oct. 26, 2018 when Coach Scott Meyer’s team defeated Beckman 34-23 on the last game of the regular season.

“It’s a long time coming, three years I haven’t won a varsity game,” said quarterback Ziyad Merchant. “It’s all about keeping your head up. Everyone is going to doubt you but you just have to let the play and the execution do the talking. I’ve never won a varsity game, so this means a lot.”

The Trojans were 0-10 in Coach Chris Hernandez’s only full season in 2019. Then the 2020 season was delayed until 2021 and University finished 0-1 before cancelling the remainder of its abbreviated spring season because it was short of players. University lost its opener last week.

Merchant connected with Blaine Anderson on a 39-yard TD pass with 7:02 left in the game to put the Trojans (1-1) ahead 13-12. Uni was unable to convert on a a two-point pass but the Trojans defense held Ocean View (1-2) the rest of the way presenting new coach Vince Mesa with his first win.

Ocean View moved the ball near midfield on its last drive but turned the ball over on a fumble and the Trojans Sharif Hayek recovered.

“We definitely came out here with a shot to win, we just had to go and take it,” said Merchant. “We just came here prepared. I think our defense absolutely killed it. Simple mistakes on defense, but nothing we can’t overcome. It’s just us going out there and making the plays. I think there will be more to come.”

Merchant completed 7 of 12 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown.

“The play was kind of set, Jonathan Soto was carrying all the dbs to the left side so we knew Blaine Anderson, he’s our secret weapon right now, we got him on the right side alone away and we just told him to run a streak and I delivered a ball that he could go up and get. I trust him on a 50-50 ball, I know he’s coming down with it.”

“It feels great, I’m most happy for these kids and this school, they’ve been down for a long time,” said Mesa, the Trojans first year coach. “They deserve it.”

Mesa was thrilled the Trojans were able to convert a score after missing several scoring opportunities earlier in the game.

“We kind of picked up on it earlier in the game, it was the right time to call it,” he said. “Ziyad put in a great spot and Blaine went in and grabbed it and he capitalized. It was a great play by those guys.”

Ocean View was led by running back Haston Allen who rushed for 134 yards on 22 carries and a 5-yard TD that put the Seahawks ahead 12-7 with 2:40 left in the first half.

Quarterback Seth Churchwell passed for 86 yards but would have had more without a 16-yard loss on one play.

Ocean View took a 6-0 lead on a 27-yard TD pass from Churchwell to Jose Cholula with 4:32 left in the first quarter.

But the Trojans moved ahead 7-6 on a 3-yard TD run by Pax Lange with 8:51 remaining in the second quarter.

Noah Scherson hauled in five catches for 40 yards for University. Soto also had an interception for Uni.

–Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone;