HIGHLIGHTS – Orange High Panthers v Rio Hondo. The Panthers win & on their way to the Semi-Finals!
The Orange High Panthers are headed to the semifinals of the California Interscholastic Federation’s Division 13 state championships next week and will face Santa Clara High School. The final score [27-14] would indicate to most that the Panthers soundly defeated Rio Hondo Prep “Kares,” which they did. The “Kares” football team came into the quarterfinal game woefully undersized, injured, and out manned from the start. Man for man, it was difficult to imagine Rio Hondo Prep could even stay close to the explosive Panther football team. All they did was come out and take a first quarter lead on a 30 yard strike from Evan Foor to Jake Lang.
The Panthers soon answered with a Syrus Collins run of 21 yards before the end of first quarter to bring the score to 7-6 after failing on a 2-point conversion attempt. It appeared that the Panthers were finally awake and ready to attack the way that have all year with their run game behind their sizable offensive line, and their explosive playmakers on the perimeter. Joseph Martinez took full advantage his offensive line and their size advantage over Rio Hondo Prep. The 5-9, 165 pound senior running back ran for 179 yards and two touchdowns on just 20 carries and truly was the staple of an offense that struggled to with multiple penalties throughout the night. In fact, the Panther team struggled with procedure, off-sides and personal fouls all game long, giving Rio Hondo opportunities that they just could not seem to capitalize on enough to earn a win.
I asked Coach Pedroza [Orange High Head Coach] about the excessive penalties and mistakes after the game and would he would correct them before his semifinal game against Santa Clara next week. Coach Pedroza said, “I was not happy with them at all. We’ll obviously have to clean these mistakes up before next week. I coach my kids hard and expect them to be aggressive, and sometimes they can be over emotional.”
All said, the Panthers are thrilled to be moving on to the semifinals, and like their chances as they chase a championship. They will have to button up on not turning the ball over, and cut down on the excessive penalties on both sides of the ball if they are to continue their championship run. They square off against a 10-2 Santa Clara High School team [Oxnard, CA] on Friday, November 24 in El Modena at 3:00 PM.