JSerra is generally considered the weakest link in the Trinity League. Huntington Beach is one of the three favorites in the Sunset League. On Friday night at Saddleback College, JSerra showed how much of a distinction there can be between leagues. The Lions beat a team it needs to beat to prove it's among the elite programs in the county, regardless of where they land in the Trinity League.
The Lions did so convincingly.
Score: JSerra 49, Huntington Beach 31
Key Stats: Nick Robinson completed 14 of 23 passes for 284 yards and five touchdowns—all of them 20 yards or more. Two passes in the first half were intercepted and led to touchdowns by Huntington Beach.
Pivotal Moment: Huntington Beach had pulled to 28-24 midway through the third quarter and was poised to stop JSerra in its own territory. Facing third-and-17 at its own 36, Robinson’s modest pass to Casey Eugenio went for 26 yards and a first down. Two plays later, the Lions went ahead 35-24 as Robinson hit Dante Pettis for a 39-yard score, the first of three touchdowns in a row.
Quotable: “We made some mistakes, at times we were sloppy, but it was a game of big plays and explosions,” JSerra coach Jim Hartigan said. “We told the kids at hafltime, ‘We’re fine, we’re still up (28-21). They exploded, we exploded.’ We were fortunate enough to have some explosions in the second half. The quarterback (Robinson) made some mistakes in the first half but made up for it in the second half. He’s a winner.”
Quotable II: “Tonight basically was a buy-in to the program and everything the coaches have been telling us,” Dante Pettis said of the value of JSerra’s victory over Huntington Beach. “Now we know that it works. We just need to listen to our coaches.”
Records: JSerra (2-0), Huntington Beach (2-1)
Notes: Ultimately, JSerra had more big-play performers than
Huntington Beach. In addition to Robinson, Pettis had six receptions for 173
yards and TDs of 68, 39 and 20 yards, and Eugenio had four for 91 yards and a
20-yard score. … Eugenio also rushed 13 times for 105 yards and scores of 1 and
54 yards. … Easily overlooked would be JSerra’s performance on special teams. A
fake punt—a pass to Eugenio that covered 39 yards—set up Pettis’ 20-yard
reception for a 42-24 lead with 11:53 remaining, and Ethan Aguayo answered a
Huntington Beach score with a 95-yard kickoff return for a 21-14 lead. … Robinson's scoring passes covered 68, 47, 39, 20 and 20 yards. The 47-yarder went to Conor O'Brien. .... Everyone raves about Huntington Beach do-everything quarterback Kai Ross, who is a running and passing threat. He completed 20 of 34 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns. He ran 21 times for 89 yards. He also intercepted a pass. ... The JSerra defense sacked Ross four times. ... Huntington Beach plays host to Trabuco Hills next week. ... JSerra plays host to Buena Park next week.