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THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES : Saddleback Wins Title Outright : Gasser Recovers From 2 Interceptions in 45-34 Comeback Win

November 22, 1987|STEVE KRESAL | Times Staff Writer

Howard Gasser recovered from throwing two interceptions to lead Saddleback to a 45-34 victory over Rancho Santiago and the Mission Conference football title Saturday night at Santa Ana Stadium.

Saddleback (8-2, 8-1) finished a game ahead of Orange Coast, which lost to Citrus, 36-26, Saturday.

Gasser had gone six games and 187 passes without an interception when he was intercepted twice in the third quarter on consecutive attempts.

The first was by defensive end Don Peterson, who returned it 28 yards for touchdown to tie the score, 24-24, with 14:07 left in the third quarter. Gasser was intercepted in the next series by Kirk Anderson. The interception set up a 30-yard field goal by Tim Snitko and Rancho Santiago led, 27-24.

Mike Miscione later scored on an eight-yard run as Rancho Santiago took a 34-24 lead with 6:50 left in the third quarter.

But Saddleback then switched back to the no-huddle offense it had used early in the first half to set up two quick touchdowns. Jim Francis scored on a two-yard run to cut the lead to 34-31. Then Gasser scored on a one-yard run on the last play of the third quarter to take the lead, 38-34.

Gasser put the game away with an 87-yard pass from a touchdown to Scott Miller. Gasser completed 18 of 30 passes for 357 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Saddleback used the no-huddle offense to open a 21-7 first-quarter lead, but Rancho Santiago came back with 10 points in the second quarter to cut the lead to 24-17.

Gasser had scoring passes of 32 and 39 yards to Kelly Ryan and a 10-yard touchdown pass to Miller in the first quarter.

Ryan ended the game with 9 catches for a school-record 197 yards.

Rancho Santiago quarterback Rick Burns was 28 for 44 for 333 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He also set the Rancho Santiago single-season passing record with 2,293 yards.

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