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Long Beach Upset by Rancho Santiago


SANTA ANA — Simon Fuentes, Rancho Santiago's quarterback, used several talents to help power the Dons to a 50-27 upset of Long Beach in a Mission Conference football game Saturday at Santa Ana Stadium.

Long Beach (3-1) was ranked sixth in the nation by the J.C. Grid-Wire. But unranked Rancho Santiago (2-1) dominated the final three quarters of the game. Fuentes tied a Rancho Santiago single-game record with four touchdown passes.

Fuentes, a sophomore from Garden Grove High, was 15 of 21 for 245 yards. He also rushed for 34 yards, including a 27-yard scramble for a touchdown. He scored on a two-point conversion run as well.

Fuentes was at his best when he was on the move, either with a planned rolling out or when he eluded the rush.

"Simon was great," Rancho Santiago Coach Dave Ogas said. "He broke their back with a couple of his scrambles."

Fuentes' biggest scramble came early in the fourth quarter. Long Beach had scored to cut the lead to 36-20. The Long Beach defense then had Rancho Santiago at its 26 on third and three. Fuentes rolled to his right and was able to duck away from the Long Beach rush. While he was getting free, wide receiver Roy Mendoza was headed across the middle near the Long Beach 40. Fuentes got the ball to Mendoza who, with the help of a block from Hector Flores near the goal line, scored.

The touchdown put the Dons ahead, 43-20, with 13 minutes 22 seconds left.

"I was just going to dump it off," Fuentes said. "But my line did a great job and Roy came back to get the ball."

Flores also had a strong game, catching six passes for 103 yards. He and Fuentes combined on a 73-yard pass play for a touchdown in the third quarter.

The Dons' strong rushing game was also key. Ace Riggins led the team with 79 yards and Brian Diaz added 68 as Rancho Santiago compiled 280.

The Dons' final score came compliments of the defense. Andre Holmes rushed in to block a punt, recovered the ball at the Long Beach three and ran it into the end zone for a touchdown with 6:15 left to play.

Rancho Santiago's defense turned in its second consecutive strong performance. El Camino had beaten the Dons, 55-28, in the season-opener, but the Dons came back to beat Palomar, 31-14, last week. The victory stopped the Comets' 20-game winning streak. Long Beach was held to 280 yards in total offense.

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