One week after suffering a tough loss to Mariposa, Orestimba bounced back to earn a crucial win over visiting Le Grand Friday.
The Warriors evened their Southern League mark at 1-1 with the solid 35-13 victory over the Bulldogs.
“We had a good start. Our kids responded well, and our guys were fired up to play football,” said head coach Aaron Souza. “It put us right back in contention to be in the hunt for the league championship, but more importantly it was the confidence-booster that our guys needed.”
Orestimba scored the game’s first two touchdowns, weathered a second-quarter push by Le Grand and then pulled away with three unanswered scores.
Orestimba rolled up 352 yards of total offense on the night.
Junior quarterback Anthony Casillas shook off a rough outing the previous week at Mariposa to complete nine of 12 passes for 187 yards.
On the ground, senior running back Xavier Avila was a workhorse, carrying 25 times for 103 yards.
It all added up to a big offensive night for the Warriors, who had just one touchdown in each of their previous two games.
Casillas put the Warriors on the board with a 1-yard run. The kick by Eduardo Carranza made it a 7-0 game.
Later in the first, Avila scored from a yard out as Orestimba extended its lead to 14-0.
Le Grand did not go quietly, however, as the Bulldogs took advantage of Orestimba turnovers to rally in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs got on the board with a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 14-6, and were perched inside the OHS 1 on their following possession when the Warrior defense came up with a game-changing play. Jaeden Diaz separated the Le Grand running back from the football, and Omar Venegas recovered the fumble in the end zone for the Warriors.
Orestimba answered with an 80-yard scoring drive capped by a 30-yard scoring strike from Casillas to Venegas in the closing seconds of the half to make it 21-6.
“That was a 14-point swing,” Souza noted.
Orestimba added a touchdown in the third quarter on a special teams play. The Warriors punted the ball over the head of the Le Grand returner, who retreated to the end zone to pick up the kick. Xavier Avila punched the ball free, and Abram Davis fell on the fumble for the touchdown.
Orestimba scored its final points in the fourth, when speedy sophomore receiver Jayden Vargas hauled in a 73-yard touchdown pass from Casillas to put the Warriors up 35-6.
Vargas joined Casillas and Avila in having a big offensive night, hauling in four passes for 134 yards.
Casillas proved to be a dual threat, complementing his 187 passing yards by rushing for 63 yards on the night.
Junior Mario Garcia had a big defensive night for the home team. He was credited with 11 tackles. Nolberto Olvera and Diego Flores were each involved in eight tackles, while Davis, John Landeros and Pablo Lopez each had a hand in five tackles.
Orestimba faces a tough league test Friday, when the Warriors host 2-0 Ripon Christian.
“Once again, they are the top team in the league that we are chasing right now,” Souza stated. “This game has become a rivalry, and I am anticipating a defensive slugfest.”