By Matt Lechuga
For The Signal
The West Ranch Wildcats were able to hold off a strong Pacifica third quarter, beating the Tritons 62-38 Friday night at Valencia High School
Neither defense is going to have much fun in the film room Saturday as both gave up their fair share of big plays and quick scoring strikes in a game that saw the offenses combine for 100 total points.
“They had some talent and we knew it,” said West Ranch head coach Chris Varner. “Credit to them for fighting. We knew we could tire them out a little bit. We don’t want to rely on that, but they had some tremendous athletes and we were able to come away with a win.”
The Wildcats (3-1) started the scoring onslaught on their first possession that lasted only two plays: A 77-yard pass from junior quarterback Ryan Staub to senior receiver Dylan Cotti followed by a 7-yard scoring run from senior running back Ike Sibal to give West Ranch an early 7-0 lead.
Pacifica (0-3) took a brief 10-7 lead in the second quarter after a 28-yard pass from freshman quarterback Tagg Harrison to Tommy Alfaro.
The lead didn’t last long, however, as Staub took the first play on the Wildcats’ fifth possession 78 yards up the left sideline to give West Ranch the lead back 14-10. The Wildcats scored twice more before the half on a 25-yard pass from Staub to Cotti and a 1-yard rush from senior running back Dylan Roof for a 27-10 halftime lead.
West Ranch padded its lead on the first play of its first possession in the third quarter with Staub hitting Chaz Hilst on a 76-yard bomb to make the score 34-10.
That’s when Pacifica found its offensive stride, scoring on its next three possessions to cut the Wildcat lead to 34-31. The first came on a 9-yard rush from junior running back Jordan Whitney, the second on a 54-yard pass from Dominic Duran to Alfaro and the third on an 85-yard reverse pass from running back Philip Kim to Alfaro.
The teams traded scores to end the third quarter, with West Ranch leading 41-38. The Wildcats scored twice more in the final quarter, 21- and 9-yard passes from Staub to Cotti and Brady Van Bennekum, respectively, to make the final score 62-38.
“We felt good going into halftime but we came out and took our foot off of the gas,” said Staub. “They came out strong and scored some touchdowns so we knew we had to respond. My receivers made unbelievable plays, we had subs in on the line and they did their thing. It was a true team effort.”
West Ranch will travel to Crespi for its final game before Foothill League play next Friday.