Daryl Bogard, UNI Football Boosters
Game Date: October 20, 2023 7:30PM PST | Photography by: Sandrine Scherson
It was a big night for the 21 graduating seniors with four clutch scoring plays by the senior class sealing the deal for the Trojans.
Woodbridge had more yards from scrimmage (324 vs. 270) and more first downs (18 vs. 16), but it was Senior Night and Homecoming at University and the home team prevailed, 35-13, capitalizing on four Warrior turnovers, taking two to the house.
Regular starting quarterback, Senior Koa Saito, was out due to injury. Saito has thrown for nearly 3,000 yards and 35 touchdowns in his Uni varsity career. Senior Blaine Anderson, who has 1,700 career receiving yards, including 22 TD receptions filled in very well for Saito. Anderson threw for two fourth down touchdowns and ran for another while netting 167 yards of total offense. Senior Zephyr Reynolds caught a first quarter 29-yard TD pass, blocked an extra point attempt in the second quarter and registered a 49-yard scoop and score fumble caused by Owen Chiou in the third quarter. Down 7-0 in the first quarter, Woodbridge countered with a 10-yard scoring pass from Caden Jones to Mikey Rubino to even the score. Rubino had 5 catches for 98 yards on the night and Jones passed for 194.
Woodbridge went ahead, 13-7 midway through the second quarter on a 9-yard TD pass from Jones to Ayden McKay. The Trojans quickly countered with a 41-yard touchdown pass from Anderson to Senior Jonathan Soto to take the lead for good. Just before half Senior Trojan defensive lineman Richard Bines scored on a 39-yard fumble return caused by a sack and forced fumble by Senior Eithar Takesh.
Woodbridge running back Tatum Ramos ran the ball 11 times for 93 yards while University Senior Jai Williams rushed 11 times for 77 yards, all in the first half.
Anderson led the passing attack going 7 for 9 for 118 yards (90 of them on fourth down) with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Anderson’s 158.3 passer rating is considered perfect by NFL standards. Senior Brooks Beckmann caught one of those key passes for 20 yards. Senior Asger Ross had four catches for 28 yards.
The Trojans rushed for a season-high 152 yards. With Williams sidelined in the second half, Ross more than picked up the slack with 13 rushes for 37 yards. Anderson was shifty eluding tacklers while picking up 49 yards on 13 carries. Senior Steven Umana got in the action late with two runs to end the game.
The Uni defense was strong and made the big plays. The Trojans had two picks, one by Damari Carter for 20 yards and another by Beckmann for no yards. In preliminary analysis, Beckmann led the way with 7 tackles while Reynolds had 6 and a TFL. Carter had 5 tackles and 2 pass breakups. Senior defensive back Luke Edwards had 5 tackles and a pass breakup while also returning one kickoff for 6 yards. Senior linebacker Ryan Shabbak also had 5 tackles. Takesh had 4 tackles, a forced fumble and a sack. Owen Chiou had 3 tackles, including one for loss and a forced fumble. Seniors Lex Hackett, Daniel Bar On and Mohammed Oonwala (one pass breakup) all had three tackles apiece. Senior Michael Bar On had one special teams tackle.
Senior placekicker Skye Murphy made all five extra points, boomed four deep kickoffs making a flying tackle on one of them.
There was only one total punt in the game and Senior Andrew Bogard booted that one punt out of bounds.
Seniors Jacob Hornback and Ozan Coskun missed the game due to injuries.
Senior offensive lineman Sam “Nostradamus” Sperling said it best in his pregame ceremony favorite football moment description, “(it) will be beating Woodbridge on Senior Night”. Not bad for a guy who plans to double major in Studio Arts and Media & Communications.
University improved to 4-5 (1-1 in Pacific Hills) keeping their CIF playoff chances alive while Woodbridge dropped to 1-8 (0-2).