Daryl Bogard, UNI Football Boosters
Game Date: September 9/22 2023 7:30PM PST | Photography by: Susan Emrich
University was missing several key two-way players and fell on the road Friday night to undefeated and ranked Laguna Hills, 42-14. This is the first time in three seasons that Uni has been able to score vs the Hawks.
Uni was led by their passing offense. Koa Saito completed 14 of 28 passes for 168 yards to approach 1,100 yards in his five games. In the second quarter, Soto threw a four-yard scoring strike to Jonathan Soto in the left corner of the end zone to pull to within seven points, 14-7.
Laguna Hills was driving in the second quarter when Luke Edwards had what appeared to be a sure interception. Soto and Edwards collided, with the ball and both players falling to the turf. Fortunately both players were OK, but this was surely a momentum changer.
Laguna Hills converted their first nine third down opportunities and all five red zone chances. The Hawks gained 148 yards on the ground while their air attack added another 122 yards. John Ponce opened the scoring with a 3-yard run. Starting quarterback Ben Trocchio threw for two scores: 3 yards to Kekoa Kelly in the first quarter and 18 yards to Mason Fromm a quarter later. Backup QB Jutin Skala also had two touchdown passes: 6 yards to Drew Wade in the second quarter and 12 yards to Jason Oldach in the third. Ryder Simmons had a 75-yard pick six for the other Laguna Hills touchdown.
Late in the game Soto threw 28 yards to Blaine Anderson in the right end zone. Anderson had 10 catches for 131 yards and 229 all-purpose yards including six kickoff returns. Anderson now has 500 receiving yards including nine TD receptions on the season. Edwards had two catches for 21 yards and Soto a pair for 16 yards.
The Trojans had just eight yards on the ground. Damari Jackson had 6 carries for 13 yards. Asger Ross and Ahoora Razzaghi each had a carry for three yards.
Laguna Hills had 19 first downs (11 run, 7 pass and 1 penalty) while the Trojans had 13 (1 run, 9 pass and 3 penalty). Uni converted five of nine third down opportunities.
Eithar Takesh led the defense with 10 tackles. Owen Chiou had seven tackles, a tackle for loss and half a sack. Ryan Shabbak also had five tackles including one tackle for loss and half a sack. Zephyr Reynolds had five tackles including one for loss. Mohammed Oonwala had five tackles and broke up one pass. Soto had four tackles and broke up three passes.
Jake Rabold kicked both extra points and made a touchdown-saving tackle on one of his kickoffs.
Uni (3-3) has a week off before returning to action vs. Northwood HS on the road Fri, Oct 6 at Irvine HS.