Thomas completed 18 of his 28 pass attempts, and threw touchdown strikes of 11 and 31 yards to Parker Roberts and 3 yards to Anthony Martin. And Eric Pesante rushed for a pair of first-quarter touchdowns for the Dons. That was more than enough offense for Santa Ana, which led 21-0 after the first quarter and held possession for 41:43 of the 60 minutes of the game.
In fact, Santa Ana had a 21-0 lead before Citrus got a single first down on offense. It was 28-0 before Citrus scored a point, and 35-7 just over five minutes into the second half. Finally, Santa Ana went on a marathon 18-play, 72-yard drive that ended with a 33-yard field goal by Chase Lansford but more importantly chewed up more than nine minutes of the fourth quarter.
Ryan Handford got the Dons started on the right foot, returning the opening kickoff 46 yards up the left sideline to the Citrus 40. Just five plays later, Pesante scored on an 8-yard run to give Santa Ana a 7-0 lead just 2:45 into the game.
After the first of eight Citrus punts, Santa Ana got the ball back and put together a 9-play drive to increase its lead to 14-0. Parker fought off Citrus defender Christyn Lewis for the ball in the end zone, hauling in an 11-yard scoring pass from Adams with 5:33 left in the first quarter.
The Citrus defense finally forced a Santa Ana punt on the next offensive series by the Dons, but even that ended in disaster for the Owls when return man Brandon Stansell fumbled the punt, and Santa Ana's Michael Neal recovered at the Citrus 19. Four plays later, Pesante jumped over the pile for a 1-yard scoring run that made it 21-0.
Midway through the second quarter, the Citrus offense finally gained its initial first down of the game on a personal foul penalty against the Dons. But Santa Ana soon extended its lead when Adams threw his second touchdown pass of the day, a 31-yard strike to Roberts with 8:09 left in the half that made it 28-0.
Citrus finally got on the board when Byron Ingram threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Tyra Waits with 5:17 left in the second quarter to cap a 9-play, 73-yard drive for the Owls. Ingram completed six passes on the drive, the longest of which was the scoring toss to Waits.
In the third quarter, Santa Ana extended its lead when Thomas threw his 3rd touchdown pass of the day, a 3-yard toss to Anthony Martin with 9:53 left in the quarter. That came moments after Christopher Ridgeway blocked a Citrus punt attempt, giving the Dons the ball at the Owl 7 yardline.
In the fourth quarter, the only scoring play was a 33-yard field goal by Santa Ana's Chase Lansford with just over a minute left on the clock. That capped a marathon 18-play drive that chewed up more than 9 minutes off the clock.
Santa Ana ended the day with 425 yards of total offense and 24 first downs, but it seemed apparent to the Dons early on that they were in control of the game. Twelve different players carried the ball and eleven different receivers had at least one catch in the ultimate ensemble performance. Jaron Hytche led the Dons with 40 yards on 7 carries, and Roberts led all receivers with 65 yards on his 5 catches. And the Dons did not turn the ball over all afternoon.
For Citrus, Ingram finished 12 of 23 passing for 92 yards and a touchdown, and had one interception. Reserve Timothy Gilmore had a strong second half and led all rushers with 61 yards on 9 carries. Matthew Rice led Owl receivers with 5 catches, each of which gained exactly 5 yards in a bizarre statistical oddity. But the Owl offense mustered just 130 total yards and 10 first downs (3 by penalty) and held the ball for just 18:17.
Next week, Santa Ana hosts SD Mesa in its home opener at 1 pm. Citrus travels to LA Harbor to take on the Seahawks at 6 pm.
Santa Ana Dons 38
Citrus Owls 7
Saturday, September 5, 2009 - 1 pm - Citrus College Stadium - Glendora
SA - Pesante 8 yd run (Lansford kick) 12:15 (7-0)
SA - Roberts 11 yd pass from Thomas (Lansford kick) 5:33 (14-0)
SA - Pesante 1 yd run (Lansford kick) 0:28 (21-0)
SA - Roberts 31 yd pass from Thomas (Lansford kick) 8:09 (28-0)
C - Waits 26 yd pass from Ingram (De Lira kick) 5:17 (28-7)
SA - Martin 3 yd pass from Thomas (Lansford kick) 9:53 (35-7)
SA - FG Lansford 33 yds 1:03 (38-7)
First Downs: Citrus 10 (3 rush, 4 pass, 3 penalty), Santa Ana 24 (10 rush, 10 pass, 4 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Citrus 19-38, Santa Ana 50-174
Passing Yds: Citrus 92, Santa Ana 251
Comp-Att-Int: Citrus 12-24-2, Santa Ana 22-33-0
Return Yds: Citrus 88, Santa Ana 113
Sacks-Yds: Citrus 1-10, Santa Ana 2-19
Fumbles-Lost: Citrus 3-1, Santa Ana 0-0
Penalties-Yds: Citrus 5-45, Santa Ana 14-131
Time of Possession: Citrus 18:17, Santa Ana 41:43
Rushing: Citrus 30-Gilmore 9-61, 24-Stansell 4-7, 20-Tucker 3-7, 2-Ingram 2-(-19), team 1-(-18);
Santa Ana 24-Hytche 7-40, 28-Dantic 11-30, 32-Privitelli 5-25, 23-Pesante 6-22, 27-Fletcher 6-21, 22-DeLeon 3-15, 15-Contreras 2-12, 10-Meraz 1-9, 2-Conley-Garcia 2-3, 47-Liti 1-0, 14-Toon 2-(-1), 6-Thomas 4-(-2)
Passing: Citrus 2-Ingram 12-23-1-92, 1 TD; 13-Robles 0-1-1-0; Santa Ana 18-28-0-225, 3 TDs; 14-Toon 4-4-0-26; 10-Meraz 0-1-0-0
Receiving: Citrus 3-Rice 5-25, 20-Tucker 3-15, 11-Baca 2-19, 4-Waits 1-26, 19-Cheaney 1-7; Santa Ana 4-Roberts 5-65, 32-Privitelli 3-27, 8-Poole 2-57, 83-Macharia 2-33, 1-Guastella 2-18, 7-Collier 2-13, 5-Martin 2-12, 22-DeLeon 1-13, 85-Zamora 1-7, 11-Byrd 1-5, 88-Pineda 1-1
Interceptions-Ret Yds: Citrus none; Santa Ana 3-Handford 1-16, 4-Neal 1-10
Sacks-Yds: Citrus 72-Kirkland 1-10; Santa Ana 44-Hemmor 2-19
Fumble Rec-Ret Yds: Citrus none; Santa Ana 4-Neal 1-0
Punters: Citrus 80-Zaragoza 7-35.8 avg + 1 blk; Santa Ana 26-Livengood 4-38.8 avg
Kick Returns: Citrus 24-Stansell 2-44, 6-Whitehead 2-40, 20-Tucker 1-6; Santa Ana 3-Hanford 2-65
Punt Returns: Citrus 50-Aguilar 1-0, 24-Stansell 1-(-2); Santa Ana 97-Ridgeway 1-21, 1-Guastella 1-1
Missed FG: Santa Ana 18-Lansford 60 yds (short), 33 yds (blocked), 44 yds (wide right)
Notes: Season opener for both teams. Santa Ana was ranked 11 in South and #22 in California (CCCFCA/JCAB) and #25 in the nation (JC Grid-Wire) in the preseason rankings. Handford's 46-yd return of the opening kickoff helped set up SA's 1st TD. Neal's recovery of a Stansell fumble at the Citrus 19 on a punt return set up SA's 3rd TD, making it 21-0, and at that point Citrus had zero first downs on offense. SA's final touchdown came after Ridgeway's punt block gave the Dons the ball at the Citrus 7. Handford's interception came after the ball was deflected by 2-Martinez. 22-Lewis blocked the field goal try for Citrus.