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It was a breakout game for the Dana Hills passing attack, as the Dolphins clobbered visiting Long Beach Wilson, 41-10, on Friday, Sept. 1.
Sophomore quarterback Jace Lowe stepped into the starting role for the first time this season and completed 11 of 19 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns. Lowe jumped into varsity action last week after starting senior quarterback Myles Van Wyhe was taken out at halftime due to concussion protocols.
Senior tight end Nikolis Grguric–a Dana Hills basketball star who is in his first year playing football–led all receivers with 82 yards and a touchdown on four catches. Charlie Eckl, a sophomore, wasn’t far behind with 76 yards on four catches, including a touchdown pass from senior receiver Noah Kucera.
Kucera was all over the field for the Dolphins with a 32-yard touchdown pass, 43 yards receiving on four catches, plus 27 yards rushing and a touchdown on six carries. Sophomore running back Radley Geiss also scored on the ground and carried the ball 17 times for 48 yards.
While Dana Hills pushed out to a 41-0 lead at halftime, it was the Dolphins defense that ensured the runaway victory.
Senior strong safety Luther Kingston led the Dolphins with six tackles, including four solo tackles and a tackle-for-loss. Kingston also scooped up one of four fumble recoveries by Dana Hills. Seniors Cael Vincent, Cooper Walsh and Ryan Taylor also recovered fumbles.
Senior linebacker Noah Brown made an impact with three sacks and a forced fumble. Brown also recorded four solo tackles.
Dolphins Face Physical Road Test Friday, Short Week Next Thursday
Dana Hills (2-1) will now aim for consistency as it travels to take on Esperanza (1-2) this Friday, Sept. 8, at Yorba Linda High School.
The Dolphins have won in blowouts, as expected over University and Long Beach Wilson, and despite a strong defensive front, Dana Hills couldn’t muster enough to take down Laguna Beach.
That bears out in the early CalPreps computer rankings, which CIF-SS uses to determine the playoff divisions at the end of the season.
Dana Hills is currently No. 133 in the ratings, with Long Beach Wilson at No. 235, University at No. 232 and Laguna Beach at No. 119.
Based on the numbers, Dana Hills should beat No. 170 Esperanza, and it’s important that the Dolphins do handle the Aztecs to hold their position and keep up a consistent trend.
Esperanza opened the season with a nine-point loss to No. 123 Diamond Bar, followed up with a 25-0 win over No. 247 Walnut and lost at No. 135 Valencia last week, 40-30.
Despite the seeming gap in the computer rankings, Esperanza will provide a challenge for Dana Hills, as the Aztecs bring a physical rushing attack. Senior running back Aaron Forsgren averages nearly 200 yards per game on the ground and ran for 253 yards and three touchdowns last week against Valencia.
The Dolphins will play on a short practice week next week, as Dana Hills stays on the road to play Woodbridge on Thursday, Sept. 14, at University High School in Irvine. Dana Hills returns home to host Canyon on Sept. 22.