Albert Perez intercepted a pass at his 11-yard line with 10 seconds remaining and threw two touchdown passes to give Santa Ana High School a 22-21 victory over Huntington Beach Saturday night at Tustin High.
Perez's game-saving interception gave Santa Ana (1-6, 1-3) its first victory of the season and left Fountain Valley as the only winless team in Orange County. Huntington Beach (5-2, 2-2) likely ruined its chances of winning the Sunset League title.
Perez threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Guerrero in the first quarter and a 19-yard scoring pass to Horacio Guerra in the second, but it was his defensive play that will be remembered for ending Santa Ana's longest losing streak in 18 years.
"The interception was sweet, especially for a quarterback," said Perez, who was used in Santa Ana's prevent defense in the final two minutes. "We had come close to winning all year, and we finally pulled it out."
Santa Ana scored the go-ahead touchdown with three minutes remaining in the third quarter when tailback Dasy Tech sprinted 50 yards for a touchdown. Santa Ana caught Huntington Beach off guard on the conversion play, and Robert Tabile scored the two points off a fake kick.
Huntington Beach gained 143 yards rushing in the first half to take a 21-14 lead, but Santa Ana limited the Oilers to just 42 yards rushing and 35 yards passing in the second half. Tailback Joe Contreras gained 115 yards in 17 carries and caught three passes for 23 yards for the Oilers.
Adam Bowermaster had two touchdowns for Huntington Beach, scoring on a five-yard run and intercepting a screen pass and returning it 54 yards.
Huntington Beach Coach George Pascoe said Santa Ana's successful two-point conversion play didn't surprise his team.
"The fact that they scored makes it look like we were caught off guard," Pascoe said. "Give them credit, they were the best 0-6 team in the county before tonight."