The Otay Ranch Mustangs did to the Bonita Vista Barons in last Friday’s Mesa League opener what the Ramona Bulldogs did so unkindly to the Mustangs in the teams’ Sept. 23 non-league match-up: score on the big play.
Otay Ranch ripped off scoring plays of 69 yards, 62 yards and 55 yards to roll up a 27-9 lead midway through the second quarter in settling for an eventual 27-19 victory at Southwestern College.
The Bulldogs ruined the Mustangs’ homecoming by snatching a high scoring 49-42 victory from the apparent jaws of defeat (Otay Ranch twice had two touchdown leads in the game). Turnabout proved to be fair play as the Mustangs dampened the Barons’ homecoming last Friday.
“It was a very hard fought game — Bonita was very physical and spirited,” said ORHS head coach Anthony Lacsina, whose team improved to 1-0 in league play, 5-2 overall, heading into Friday’s Metro-Mesa match-up against the Olympian Eagles. “Defensively, we felt we needed to stop the run. They (the Barons) are very strong up front, but we held them to under 100 yards, which was a key.”
It appeared Bonita Vista (0-1, 3-3-1) might extend its unbeaten streak to five games after Steven Kavianian recovered a fumble at the Mustang five-yard line and the Barons subsequently took the ball into the end zone on a six-yard scoring pass from quarterback Jon Manjarrez to tight end Gabe Bell with just 2:57 elapsed in the game.
Otay Ranch countered with a 69-yard dash from the line of scrimmage by track standout Donald Molton with 4:47 left in the first quarter and the teams were tied at 7 on the scoreboard.
But when Mustang quarterback Cody Springsguth was sacked in the end zone by Marcus Reyes just five seconds into the second quarter, the two-point safety gave the hosts a 9-7 lead.
But the Barons failed to seize the momentum.
Instead, an opportunistic Mustang offense racked up 20 unanswered points in a span of 4:21 to go for the Barons’ jugular vein.
Springsguth initiated the stunning turnaround by tossing a 62-yard scoring pass to Chris Martin with 9:50 left on the clock in the second quarter. An ensuing interception by Isaiah Ramsey set up a 32-yard scoring pass from Springsguth to Martin with 6:55 left. Steven Alexander then capped the ORHS scoring spree on a 55-yard interception return 5:29 prior to the halftime break.
Lacsina termed Alexander’s pick “huge, because it ended up being the game winner.”
To their credit, the Barons did not fold. They scored the final 10 points of the game while shutting out the high-powered Mustang offense the rest of the way.
Devon Roncoroni booted a 27-yard field goal — the first of her varsity career — to make the score 27-12 at halftime. BV quarterback Jon Manjarrez then connected with Ryan Miguel on a 17-yard scoring play in the third quarter to account for the only score in the second half.
Despite having their winning streak come to an end, Bonita Vista fought valiantly to the very end.
“Hats off to Otay Ranch,” BVHS coach Greg Raby said. “Defensively they had a great game plan and shut down our running game, plus they forced a fumble that stopped a scoring drive and had three interceptions — one they converted for a touchdown. We gave them our best shot in the second half but it was not good enough. In the end, they wanted it more than we did and they made the plays … great coaching job by their staff.”
Springsguth completed four of nine passes for 129 yards while Molton rushed 10 times for 96 yards. Martin had two catches for 95 yards.
Anthony Williams had seven carries for 47 yards while Angel Mendoza caught one pass for 29 yards.
Lacsina feels Martin ranks among the upper tier of wide receivers in the county while Molton is coming back from an injury.
Andre Jones had an interception to give the Mustangs three picks in the game to go with a fumble recovery by Justin Doton.
James Adams had 12 tackles, including 10 solo stops and two sacks, and, according to Lacsina, “has been on a tear.”
Jordan Peterson had 10 stops for Otay Ranch while Doton had nine. Rasheed Farha also was a major contributor on defense with a sack.
For Bonita Vista, Manjarrez completed 17 of 27 passing attempts for 179 yards with two touchdowns against two picks. John Matranga rushed 11 times for 75 yards but the Mustangs otherwise bottled up the Baron rushing attack, limiting it to 88 yards on 23 attempts.
Miguel had five catches for 52 yards, Parker Brisebois had three catches for 35 yards and Atal Khaliq had two catches for 29 yards.
Sean Fuimaono led the BVHS defense with 11 tackles while Anthony Rhodes had nine stops, including seven first hits.
The Barons recovered three fumbles, with Moises Vilalpando and James Duberg also registering recoveries.
Roncoroni finished the night with five kicking points.
Mesa League Standings
Eastlake 1-0 5-2
Otay Ranch 1-0 5-2
Olympian 0-0 3-3
Bonita Vista 0-1 3-3-1
Chula Vista 0-1 3-3
Metro-Mesa League Football Previews
Friday, Oct. 21 (7 p.m. kick-off)
Olympian (3-3) at Otay Ranch (5-2)
Otay Ranch hosts Olympian this Friday as the Eagles make their Metro-Mesa debut after winning last year’s Metro-Pacific League championship title and a South Bay League title the year before that.
Olympian defeated the visiting Del Norte Nighthawks, 34-3, last Friday as head coach Gil Warren racked up his 201st career football victory.
If the Eagles are going to make a statement in their move up to play against the Metro Conference’s perennial "big boys," this would be the game to do it.
Ian Autman and Asante Gibson each scored two rushing touchdowns against Del Norte while Isaiah Gibson trotted into the end zone on an 80-yard scoring run. Autman keyed the Olympian rushing attack with 15 carries for 161 yards, including scoring runs of one and 65 yards.
The Eagles racked up 324 rushing yards and tacked on 78 passing yards off the arm of quarterback Chris Humphrey.
The Olympian defense limited the Nighthawks to 68 passing yards and 39 rushing yards.
For Otay Ranch, Cody Springsguth has passed for 894 yards with 13 touchdowns (against six interceptions) while David Mondy leads the team with 605 rushing yards, followed by Anthony Williams with 569 rushing yards and D.D. Cunningham with 265 rushing yards. Chris Martin has 25 catches for 498 yards and eight scores.
ORHS head coach Anthony Lacsina said his team will "need to do a better job of taking care of the football" after losing three fumbles last week against Bonita Vista when it meets up with the high-flying Eagle defense.
Bonita Vista (3-3-1) at Chula Vista (3-3)
Bonita Vista, after falling 27-19 to visiting Otay Ranch last Friday, will hope to get in the win column again when it travels to Chula Vista on Friday. The Spartans are coming off a 49-17 setback to defending league champion Eastlake.
Since taking over as the Barons starting QB, Jon Manjarrez has thrown for 633 yards. John Matranga has rushed for 510 yards and nine touchdowns.
CVHS quarterback Ricky Estevez has thrown for 866 yards and six touchdowns. Ray Holden has 26 catches for 386 yards while Richard Walker has made 18 grabs for 285 yards.
Isaac Martinez remains the Spartans’ deep threat with TD kick-returns of 75, 81, 83 and 91 yards this season.
Metro Conference Playoff Ticker
•Eastlake Titans 5-2
•Otay Ranch Mustangs 5-2
•Chula Vista Spartans 3-3
•Sweetwater Red Devils 2-4
•San Ysidro Cougars 2-4
•Bonita Vista Barons 3-3-1
•Hilltop Lancers 2-4
•Mar Vista Mariners 5-1
•Montgomery Aztecs 4-2
•Olympian Eagles 3-3
•Southwest Raiders 2-4
•Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders 4-2
•Castle Park Trojans 1-5