Santa Ana Valley overcame costly mistakes to score a 16-15 come-from-behind victory over previously-unbeaten Nogales in nonleague action Friday night in Santa Ana Stadium.
"The 'old' Santa Ana Valley did not win these tight games," first-year Coach Dan Castanon said after the Falcons' first victory of the year.
"It was just a matter of ironing out little mistakes we've made all year. We never let down, and that's the key to building a winning team."
The Falcons (1-4) received the break they needed late in the fourth quarter when, trailing 15-8, sophomore Fred Massey recovered a fumbled punt at the Nogales 27.
Steve Calhoun completed screen passes to Roshawn Lacy and Hubert Chiles to pull the Falcons out of a second and 28 situation at the 45-yard line. Four plays later, on fourth and 11, Calhoun hit Tim Robinson in the corner of the end zone to bring the Falcons within one, 15-14, with 2:21 left.
Calhoun then rolled to his right on the two-point conversion try to hit Lacy coming out of the backfield with the pass that provided the victory margin.
Nogales capitalized on a Falcon mistake to take the lead when Paul Green blocked Lacy's punt in the third quarter. Steve Matuszewicz recovered the ball in the end zone and Green's conversion put the Nobles on top, 15-8.
Calhoun, who completed 11 of 21 passes for 124 yards, felt constant pressure from the Nogales defense.
"We've had trouble connecting on third and short all year," Castanon said, "but tonight we maintained our poise in tough situations.
"This victory gives validity to our program."