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    Trabuco Hills football stuns San Juan Hills, grabs share of Sea View League title
    • October 21, 2023

    SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — Trabuco Hills’ football team ended San Juan Hills’ perfect season with a 24-17 upset win Friday at San Juan Hills High and clinched a share of the Sea View League championship.

    The Mustangs (6-3, 2-0) most recently won a Sea View League championship in 2021 when it shared the league title with Capistrano Valley and El Toro.

    “I’m so proud of these guys,” Trabuco Hills coach Mark Nolan said. “We take things one week at a time and we have to take care of business against our local rival El Toro in their place (in the league finale Oct. 27). We are in the driver’s seat and this is a great night for Trabuco Hills.”

    San Juan Hills (8-1, 1-1) entered the week ranked No. 9 in the Register’s Top 25 poll. Trabuco Hills was ranked No. 21.

    Trabuco Hills was playing short-handed with five of the seven offensive linemen who typically play missing the game due to injury. The offensive linemen that did play Friday stepped up and led the Mustangs to 194 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

    “I have to give a major shoutout to Brody Brown and Izaac Stroman who we ran behind all night,” Nolan said. “Yusef Kaya played center and he is back from a broken ankle this summer. Cooper Overman is a tight end who volunteered to play tackle this week and no tight ends ever do that.”

    Oliver Roeder and David Hemmes also played offensive line for the Mustangs on Friday.

    Ryan Luce was the star of the game with two big rushing touchdowns and 10 receptions. Many of his touches converted third and fourth down attempts in the fourth quarter.

    The pivotal play came in the fourth quarter with the Mustangs facing third down and long. Trabuco Hills ran a reverse to Luce who broke two tackles and ran for a 32-yard touchdown.

    “I knew that coach was giving me a chance to go out there and seal the game for us,” Luce said. “I saw the defender get kicked out, I cut up inside, broke a tackle and instinct took over for the touchdown.”

    Taylor Bowie ran for 117 yards on 23 carries with a touchdown for the Mustangs. Quarterback Jacob Perry completed 20 of 29 passes for 140 yards.

    Trabuco Hills’ defense forced three turnovers and blocked a field goal. Ben Holland and Jaden Webber had interceptions and Tyler Schmaltz forced a fumble that Jaedyn Berry recovered.

    Lucas Short blocked a San Juan Hills field goal attempt in the first quarter.

    “The defense was absolutely lights out,” Nolan said. “Holding a very good San Juan Hills team to no offensive touchdowns until late in the fourth quarter is amazing. I couldn’t be more proud of those guys.”

    San Juan Hills scored first on a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown by highly-touted junior Weston Port to give the Stallions an early 7-0 lead.

    Trabuco Hills tied the game on a 3-yard run by Luce out of the “wildcat” formation early in the second quarter.

    On the ensuing Trabuco Hills possession, Bowie broke a tackle and ran 26-yards for a touchdown to give Trabuco Hills a 14-7 lead.

    After an interception by Holland, Trabuco scored on a 34-yard field goal by Ethan Schwartz to put the Mustangs in front 17-7 at halftime.

    San Juan Hills made a field goal in the third quarter to cut the Mustangs’ lead to 17-10.

    Webber intercepted a San Juan Hills pass and returned it 21-yards to midfield. The interception set up the 32-yard touchdown run by Luce to extend the lead to 24-10.

    Colton Chase returned the ensuing kickoff 44 yards which set up a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Timmy Herr with under two minutes remaining. Herr led San Juan Hills in rushing with 87 yards on 11 carries.

    Holland recovered the onside kick to seal the game for Trabuco Hills.

    “We are banged up, nobody gave us a chance, our coaches put together a great game plan and our players believed,” Nolan said. “We knew we had to play hard, physical, throw caution to the wind and see where it lands.”

    San Juan Hills will play Aliso Niguel on the road next week to wrap the regular season. The Stallions can still clinch a share of the Sea View League championship with a win and a Trabuco Hills loss to El Toro.

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    ​ Orange County Register