Chargers roll: South Hills High School tried going toe-to-toe with Charter Oak, but the video-game-like efficiency of Chargers quarterback Travis Santiago was too much to deal with.
On a night Santiago threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for 54 yards and three touchdowns, his evening might be best remembered for scrambling out of trouble and running over a defender for a first down that few quarterbacks have the guts to try.
When it was over, Charter Oak had amassed over 500 total yards and ran South Hills off the field 63-28 in the Sierra League opener at Covina District Field on Friday.
Tonight’s results and game stories
Alemany 26, Bishop Amat 21 — For the Lancers to make the playoffs, they will have to beat either Crespi or Notre Dame on the road and Loyola at home in two weeks. Impossible? No. Likely? It doesn’t look good.
Charter Oak 63, South Hills 28 Can’t remember the last time I’ve seen an area quarterback as complete as Travis Santiago. His legend continues to grow after throwing for 325 yards and two touchdowns, and rushing for 54 yards and three touchdowns.
Los Osos 20, Glendora 7 — The Tartans will probably get a win over Alta Loma next week, but that’s as good as it gets the rest of the way in the Baseline.
Los Altos 27, Diamond Ranch 14 — So much for Roddy’s Hacienda League predictions, the Conquerors are back in the playoff and Hacienda title picture.
Walnut 38, Rowland 26— Suddenly, the Mustangs are 2-1 and their only loss to West Covina and a win over Los Altos. Looks like they’re sitting pretty. Who do they think they’re, Diamond Ranch?
West Covina 38, Bonita 14— The Bulldogs are too much for everyone these days. Forget an Amat-Charter Oak match, I want a Charter Oak/Royal Oak vs. West Covina -Edgewood special. Only the old school folks know what I’m talking about.
Arroyo 42, Mountain View 3 — The Knights did what they’re supposed to do, but still have lots of tough games in the MVL left.
El Monte 31, Rosemead 28— For weeks I’ve been telling anyone that listens the Lions are the real deal and a real Mission Valley contender. Tonight they proved it.
South El Monte 13, Gabrielino 10— Another good win for the Eagles, but not sure if they’re as good as Arroyo, Rosemead or El Monte in the MVL.
Sierra Vista 21, Gladstone 20— The Dons squeeze out another Montview League win.
Workman 41, Bassett 0 — Not a surprise, seems like the Olympians are last year’s Duarte.
Chino Hills 40, Ayala 9 — Ok, so when is that Charter Oak-Chino Hills game?
Damien 31, Claremont 10 — The Spartans continue to improve by the week, and get an even bigger test at home next against South Hills.
Pomona 49, Baldwin Park 14 — Don’t sleep on the Red Devils. They will make the playoffs and make somebody nervous.
San Dimas 48, Wilson 10 — Finally, bring on Covina.
Highlights of West Covina-Bonita with TDro…
Charter Oak, ranked sixth in the Inland Division, improved to 5-1 and 1-0 while the Huskies dropped to 3-3 and 0-1.
Back to Santiago.
“I’ve only been doing this for 44 years, the competitiveness and toughness in that kid is up there with the best of them,” Chargers coach Lou Farrar said. “He (Santiago) makes plays with his feet that matches the ability of his arm.
“I don’t know what to say, I’ve seen a lot of high school football games and high school football players. His ability to compete, think and his football IQ is phenomenal. There can’t be a better quarterback anywhere around here.”
Sophomore Kurt Scoby was nearly as difficult to contain, rushing for 154 yards and three touchdowns.
Even receiver Aaren Vaughns contributed with seven catches for 121 yards, and Chris Gilchrist scored twice.
South Hills quarterback Vincent Hernandez threw for 234 yards and two touchdowns, and Jamel Hart rushed for 65 yards and two touchdowns to help keep the Huskies within striking distance, trailing 21-14 in the second quarter.
But the Chargers closed the quarter with 21 straight points to open up a 42-14 halftime lead.
“You could put them almost anywhere and that team is going to score points,” South Hills coach Steve Bogan said of Charter Oak. “They’re loaded. There’s lots of bullets in that gun and the bullets kept coming.”
And it didn’t take long for them to start firing.
After Gilchrist returned the opening kickof 74 yards for a touchdown, Santiago completed a 37-yard pass to the four, and took it in a couple plays later, scoring from a yard out for a 14-0 lead.
South Hills cut the lead in half on Hernandez’s 45-yard touchdown pass to Brayton Newton, making it 14-7.
But Santiago continued beating the Huskies with his feet too, scoring on a five-yard run to make it 21-7.
After Hart cut the lead in half again with a two-yard touchdown to make it 21-14, the Chargers broke the game open.
After Scoby scored on a three-yard run, Santiago showed his brilliance on the next drive, completing a 33 and 21-yard pass, then finishing the drive with a 16-yard TD run — the Chargers going 70 yards on three plays to go up 35-14 with 3:49 until half.
Scoby scored his third touchdown of the half to put the Chargers up, 42-14 at the break.
Santiago, who along with teammates Gilchrist and Vaughns started at South Hills before transferring to Charter Oak, knew there would be a lot of emotion.
“I was dedicated to this game,” Santiago said. “I was here my freshman year, but I came to compete with my team tonight and we played together as one.”
Scoby’s 16-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter and Gilchrist’s 31 yard touchdown reception put the game out of reach for good.
“Our kids were up for this game,” Farrar said. “It’s a neighborhood thing. It’s one of those games, don’t blink because anything can happen.”
BTW, why don’t all of you meet Mike the Cousin. Watch his interview with our newest correspondent, Cal State Fullerton’s Courtney Ponce, who asked Mike how Coveritlive works.