As the final seconds ticked away to end Thursday's Golden West League football game between Ocean View and Santa Ana, Ocean View football coach Luis Nunez gave a thumbs-up, turned and shouted, "good job," back at his players and coaching staff on the Seahawks' sideline, then headed toward midfield to exchange post-game handshakes with the Saints.
Nunez jumped the gun a bit, though, as Santa Ana, trailing by two touchdowns, called a timeout. You can't blame Nunez for his enthusiasm, as his team was about to sew up its first victory of the season.
Ocean View opened up a 10-point lead on Santa Ana, fell behind in the second quarter, then scored 17 unanswered points bridging the end of the first half and third quarter, and went on to earn a 41-27 victory.
Once the final second was off the clock, Nunez resumed what he had started, and enjoyed the moment.
"The first victory was tough. It didn't come easy, but it's worth it," he said. "I'm happy we got this win."
Sophomore quarterback Blake Meyer threw three touchdown passes, junior Hector Calderon caught one of those scoring passes and also kicked a pair of field goals, and senior running back Daniel Valencia rushed for two second-half touchdowns for Ocean View which pulled away from a 13-13 halftime tie.
Meyer threw for 122 yards and Valencia rushed for 155 yards on 23 carries. Valencia left the game after getting banged up on a four-quarter run inside the Santa Ana 15-yard line with nine minutes to go in the game.
Valencia did not return. His replacement, junior fullback Riley Koehler, did an admirable job down the stretch. In his first full series, with Ocean View up, 34-20, Koehler ripped off third-down runs of 14 and 30 yards, to keep the Seahawks' drive alive. His 30-yard run put the Seahawks at the Santa Ana 23.
It set up Ocean View's final score. Meyer's fourth touchdown pass of the game went to junior running back David Alani who slipped out of the backfield to score on a 10-yard play. It increased the Seahawks' lead to 41-20 with 2:39 left.
"Daniel [Valencia] went down and I thought, here we go again," Nunez said. "But our kids played tough. We showed we can throw the ball, and I thought this was our best performance of the season."
It was the most productive game of the year for the Ocean View offense which had its highest scoring game.
The Seahawks scored on their first two possessions of the game to open up a 10-0 lead. A seven-yard touchdown pass from Meyer to Calderon capped a 10-play drive on the first possession, and Calderon provided the point-after. On their next possession, the Seahawks reached the Santa Ana five but settled for a 23-yard field goal from Calderon early in the second quarter.
Ocean View appeared to be in control, but Santa Ana, which remained winless (0-7), scored the next 13 points to take its only lead. A 15-yard touchdown pass play between quarterback Fidel Cendejas and Sergio Cadena, and a two-yard scoring run by Cendejas, within a three-minute span late in the second quarter, put the Saints on top, 13-10.
Cendejas' scoring run came with just 26 seconds left in the first half, but it was enough time for Ocean View to get in one more score before halftime.
The Saints, who tried an onside attempt on every kickoff in the game, failed on their final kick of the half, as Ocean View recovered at the Santa Ana 49. Three straight passes by Meyer, two to junior receiver Tyler Clay and one to Calderon, took the ball down to the 13 with one second left. Calderon came on to boot a 30-yard field goal as time expired, and the teams went into the locker room deadlocked at 13-13.
Ocean View took over from there. Valencia scored on runs of seven and one yards in the third quarter to give the Seahawks a 27-13 lead. Santa Ana drew to within 27-20 with 9:58 left in the fourth quarter on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Cendejas to Ray Velez, but the Seahawks scored less than two minutes later when Meyer hit junior tight end Adam Alatorre with an 11-yard TD pass to make to make it 34-20.
After Meyer's TD pass to Alani late in the game, Santa Ana scored its final touchdown on a 20-yard pass from Cendejas to Velez to get within 41-27 with 1:29 remaining. The Saints recovered their first and only onside kick of the game moments later at the Ocean View 46, but their final drive was thwarted when Ocean View sophomore linebacker Alejandro Valdez dropped Cendejas for a 12-yard loss on fourth down with a minute to play.
Meyer, who started the game, was one of two sophomore quarterbacks to see action for Ocean View. He drove the Seahawks in for their first score, but Jason Bryan came in to direct the Seahawks' second offensive series. which ended with Calderon's first field goal of the night.
It was Bryan's varsity debut.
"We had planned for Blake [Meyer] to run the first series, and Jason [Bryan] to run the second series," Nunez said. "Jason's been our frosh/soph quarterback but we brought him up because we didn't have our back-up quarterback [Jordan Stout]. We wanted to reward Jason for his hard work. He's got a bright future."