Otay Ranch’s (5-3, 2-0) second half surge against Olympian (4-4, 1-1) led them to scoring 28 unanswered points in a 35-23 Metro-Mesa League victory.
Eagle Seniors Nico Mendoza and Isaiah Williams crashed the party early with an opening drive touchdown for their seventh touchdown connection on the season. Williams would add a rushing touchdown from eight yards out in the second quarter along with Mendoza sneaking it in from the one-yard line to give Olympian a 23-14 lead at halftime. Mendoza finished the first half completing 15-of-20 pass attempts for 187 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, it was a tale of two halves for the Mustangs as they held Mendoza to completing only 33 percent of his passes (5-of-15) for 45 yards.The Mustangs offense had big plays, but it was the defensive turn around in the second half that had the biggest impact. Olympian has some of the best athletes in the South Bay, but Otay Ranch would limit the big plays and lay the lumber defensively in the second half.
Offensive Coordinator Judd Rachow of Otay Ranch will tell you it’s all about the big plays in big games and his offense responded. Quarterback Jonte “Puka” Stewart got it going later in the first half hooking up with Josh Lira over the middle for a 33-yard touchdown. Stewart would open the second half with a 75-yard drive capping it off with a Zeek Cruz 49-yard touchdown to cut the deficit 23-21. The running game from Gus Espiritu in the second half had a huge impact in the passing game opening up the play action. The senior running back wiggled his way through a lane and scored from 12 yards out to give Otay Ranch their first lead of the game around four minutes left in the third quarter. Senior Sammy “The Bull” Paranada would be the nail in the coffin with his bruising runs scoring on a four-yard touchdown. The senior backfield arguably might be the best in the South Bay with the change of pace and physical nature they provide.
Although it was the Battle of the O’s, this game will be known as the “Jose Brosz Game” as the kids dedicated their second half effort to the recently fallen principle who opened with the school in 2006. The Mustangs will tell you different, but most high school football followers, including myself, will tell you that the Mustangs have opened league with back-to-back upsets. We will see if they can continue their success next week as heavy favorites when they head to Bonita Vista (0-8, 0-2) to play the struggling Barons. Olympian will have a Bye week to regroup then come back Week 10 to face Mater Dei Catholic (4-3, 1-0).
Otay Ranch (4-3, 1-0) paces the Metro-Mesa League Conference with a winning streak of two. A big win early over favorite Eastlake last week to open league play has positioned the Mustangs for a title run. The Mustangs have competed every week losing by a touchdown or less in their three losses. Running Back Gus Espiritu helps control game flow with 92 carries for 520 yards on the season scoring a rushing touchdown in his last three games. Sammy “the Bull” Paranada is the finisher inside the five as he leads the team with seven rushing touchdowns.
Olympian (4-3, 1-0) stacked their pre-league schedule to prepare them for league play and it was evident against Bonita Vista as they played on a different level. The speed and athleticism of the Eagles give them a legitimate chance to win the league title. The Eagles attack is averaging 24 points per game thanks to the senior connection of Quarterback Nico Mendoza and Isaiah Williams who have connected for 39 receptions, 478 yards, and six touchdowns this season. Running Backs Arnold Escano and Treyvion Davies both began league with multiple touchdowns and a flurry of other backs contributed. If Nico Mendoza could continue his success with Williams and raise his 50.1% completion, he will keep the running lanes open and keep defenses on their heels. Their defense operates through leading tacklers Jared Desmond (76) and Rock Gonzalez (69).
Olympian has controlled the last six years, winning the last five-of-the-six including last years 28-21 victory. Will recent history repeat itself or will Otay Ranch start league with back-to-back upsets? You can find out on KUSI’s Prep Pigskin Report Friday at 10:30 pm.