Santa Ana High School had lost three games in the second half after holding a 10-point lead, so the Saints decided Friday night to build an advantage that even Orange County's second-leading passer couldn't overcome.
The Saints opened a 25-0 lead in the first half behind the passing of quarterback Eric Turner and then intercepted Canyon quarterback Todd French three times in the second half to hold on for a 25-12 victory in front of 3,000 fans in Santa Ana Stadium.
The victory evened the Saints' record at 1-1 in Century League play and improved their overall mark to 2-3. Canyon is also 1-1 in league play and 3-2 overall.
French was coming off a record-breaking performance against Orange in which he established school marks for passing yardage (332 yards) and touchdowns (four). He had totaled 1,049 yards passing and 10 touchdowns in four previous starts. He managed to tie another school record against Santa Ana with his 11th touchdown pass of the season in the final quarter.
But for the most part, it was an off-night for French as he completed only 12 of 39 passes for 181 yards. He continually overthrew receivers. French was on target with one receiver, however. Comanche wide receiver Chuck Zacour caught six passes for 131 yards, including a 39-yard scoring pass in the last quarter.
The night belonged to Turner, a lanky, 6-foot, 5-inch, 200-pound senior with a nice touch. He threw two touchdown passes and ran for another, all in the first half, and finished with 141 yards passing on 11 of 16 attempts.
The Saints dominated play to the point that they didn't have to punt until 2:17 remained in the third quarter.
Dick Hill, the Saints' coach, went primarily to a running game in the second half and put the wraps on Turner, who had 121 yards passing in the first half.
Santa Ana had lost games to Newport Harbor, Saddleback and Foothill after holding first-half leads. The Saints had tired in each game with some key players going both ways, including Turner who doubles as a defensive end or free safety.
This time, Turner made sure the game was on ice at halftime. He teamed with wide receiver Paul Hurley for a 36-yard touchdown play on the Saints' first possession and then combined with Oscar Tavares on a 12-yard scoring play for a 15-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Turner added a one-yard run with 4:50 left in the second quarter and place kicker Raul Ochoa kicked his second field goal with 1:13 remaining for a 25-0 lead.
Hurley had quite a game for the Saints. He caught three passes for 63 yards, scored one touchdown, and intercepted three passes. Tavares also had an interception for the Saints.
Canyon finally came to life in the fourth quarter when French scored on a two-yard run and then he teamed with Zacour on a 39-yard touchdown play.
But for the most part, it was a forgettable night for French.