When Orange Glen and Escondido Charter met last Friday night on the field that both call home (on the former’s campus), something clearly had to give.
Up to that point, it had been a challenging and testing season for the two schools that reside not much more than a deep out from each other. Winless in their first four games of the 2017 campaign, the Patriots and White Tigers were in a similar quandary as they sought some needed positive reinforcement and a chance to change the arc of their season. To say these two squads were desperate for a victory may have been hyperbole but there was no denying that a sense of urgency to break through and get into the win column was definitely present. These were two teams that were mighty hungry if not downright ravenous to secure that initial victory.
And when the final seconds clicked off the clock and the eventual outcome had been decided, it was the Pats of coach Jason Patterson who had gotten off the snide while the W. Tigers were left to continue on in their search of trying to find a winning formula.
Thanks to an alert and active defense that forced four turnovers and a headline worthy performance from running back Jacob Guzman, who converted his 29 carries into a whopping 194 yards and four TDs, the Pats rolled to a convincing 33-0 victory that should give them a boost of confidence as they head into the meat of what figures to be a difficult Coastal League schedule.
As for an Esco Charter team that simply hasn’t been able to generate much offense (just 19 points to date), the goal must be to soldier on, not get discouraged and believe that it has the wherewithal to make some adjustments/improvements that will lead to a more successful second half of the season.
In their welcomed triumph, the Pats were consistency personified when it came to putting points on the board. OG scored at least one touchdown in each and every quarter. And based on the manner in which its defense was taking care of business and stifling the White Tigers at nearly every turn, the 19-0 lead that the Pats established at the half looked to be more than enough if not virtually insurmountable.
Moreover, the hardnosed Guzman proved that if he’s given ample space by his mates up front, he possesses both the physicality and savvy to do plenty of damage on the ground. Going forward, the Pats become a much more viable and competitive threat when Guzman is turned loose and able to pound away.
In addition to Guzman’s notable efforts, OG also got some key offensive contributions from a couple of other sources. Sophomore quarterback Julien Lesa, who appears to be getting more comfortable in that role as time progresses, had perhaps his most effective outing when he tossed for 127 yards and a score.
And to no one’s surprise, Lesa’s main target was the shifty and exciting Zeandre Anderson, who continued to demonstrate his knack for getting open by latching onto six passes that went for 97 yards and the aforementioned TD strike.
But make no mistake, the OG defenders were every bit as instrumental in this win as were their comrades on the other side of the ball. Without question, this was a sparkling across-the-board effort from the Pat defense. You could look almost anywhere and find a standout.
Defensive back Christian Gonzalez was a star with a pair of interceptions (returned for 105 yards), not to mention his five tackles. Engaged linebackers Lesa and Luis Mateo were real factors with their combined 18 total stops. Strong defensive end John Simmons caused a fumble and recorded half a sack. Tackle Juan Sanchez’s five stops included the other half-sack. Erik Marquez recovered a fumble for the second straight contest. And on the back end, Anderson showed his cover skills by being credited with three pass breakups while Carlos Anez tallied a sum of two in that same category.
With Guzman coming off a big performance, Anderson growing into a dangerous receiver and a defense that has the potential to keep its team in the hunt, the Pats will look to use their first win as springboard to additional success. It had to start somewhere and with its victory over Esco Charter, the Pats can now say that they are headed in the right direction.