Orestimba and Hughson have fostered a notable non-league rivalry in recent years following a series of hard-fought contests.
On Friday, a new chapter was added to the rivalry as Orestimba brought home a 22-21 victory in a dogfight on the Huskies home turf.
“ It was a wild one, to say the least,” Orestimba head coach Aaron Souza said of the game, which took on playoff intensity down the stretch.
The Warriors, who battled back from deficits of 7-0, 14-6 and 21-14, took the lead for the first time with just over five minutes to play and then held on to win it.
The game, though, was not decided until a 39-yard Hughson field goal attempt with 1:30 left on the clock missed the mark.
For the second week in a row the Warriors overcame a rough start and came together as a team to win it.
Three first-half turnovers stalled the West Siders.
Their first turnover was on the opening drive of the game, coming when Hughson blocked a punt and returned the ball to the OHS 2. Hughson needed four downs, but was able to punch into the end zone to go up 7-0.
Orestimba pulled to within a point in the second when quarterback Anthony Casillas scored on a 1-yard run, but the conversion attempt failed.
“It was pretty much a terrible start,” said Souza. “Not a good first quarter and half by us, especially offensively, but our kids kept playing.”
Going into the half time trailing the Huskies 7-6 Orestimba had time to regroup and settle down the jitters and get back into playing the game.
The tug-of-war on the field and scoreboard continued through the second half.
A second special teams miscue allowed Hughson to extend its lead.
The Huskies jumped on a high snap during a punt attempt by the Warriors and tackled the scrambling punter on the Orestimba 30-yard line. The Huskies capitalized, striking on a 26-yard touchdown pass to go up 14-6.
But midway through the third quarter, Casillas answered back with with a spectacular 67-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Jayden Vargas. A two-point conversion rush by Casillas tied the game at 14-all.
“Casillas took a lot of hits, but he made plays when he needed to,” Souza told Mattos Newspapers. “The plays he made were in clutch situations.”
Souza also commented that the grit of his team really showed and the determination of his players was there as they kept competing.
After the Huskies scored for the final time on a six-yard run to make it 21-14 the Warriors’ offense stepped up in crunch time.
With about 5:45 left on the clock the Warriors scored on a 6-yard run by Casillas to make it 21-20. The team lined up for a two-point conversion and took its first lead of the night when Casillas completed a sprint out play to the right to Vargas near the pylon to make it a 22-21 game.
A fourth-down completion from Casillas to Omar Venegas had kept the drive alive, Souza noted.
The game was not over just yet as the Huskies were able to move the ball to scoring position and setting up their late field goal attempt.
When the kick fell short and wide, Orestimba had only to run out the clock on a memorable victory.
“It was a good non-conference game,” commented Souza. “It was a rough start start but we found a way to finish this game.”
The defensive unit for the Warriors had a good night, only allowing 173 yards. Two of the three Hughson touchdowns were set up by special teams breakdowns.
The key players for the Warriors defense were Abram Davis (12 tackles), Jr. Save (10), Nolberto Olvera, Jaeden Diaz and Joe Matteri (seven each) and Venegas, John Landeros, Xavier Avila and Diego Flores (six each).
“The defense was just out there playing fast football,” said Souza. “Our defense is continuing to pay up to its potential.”
Orestimba finished with 294 yards of total offense, including 208 through the air.
Vargas, the speedy sophomore, had a big receiving night with five catches for 157 yards and a touchdown. Avila had four receptions for 32 yards.
Casilla was Orestimba’s leading rusher with 60 yards on 11 carries.
This week the Warriors visit Golden Sierra. Both teams are 2-0.
“This is a big week and game for us,” mentioned Souza. “This is a revenge game for us. A loss (to Golden Sierra) cost us a home playoff game last year.”