Dons Cap Season With 44-17 Win Over Glendale

SANTA ANA, Calif - In its last regular season game of the 2022 season, the Santa Ana Football team dominated the second of half against the Glendale Vaqueros (5-5, 3-2) to earn a 44-17 victory in American Metro League (AML) action.

The Dons (5-5, 4-1) found themselves in a defensive struggle in the first half as neither team could find the endzone after 30 minutes of action. Following a Glendale field goal at the 6:20 mark in the first quarter, Santa Ana responded with three field goals over the next 21 minutes to give them a 9-3 lead at the half. 

Sophomore kicker Anthony Gomez accounted for all three field goals and totalled 14 points on the night. 

Although the Vaqueros started the third quarter with the ball, the Dons imposed their will right from the start. Back to back sacks from the SAC defense led to a quick three and out and good field position. 

Freshman quarterback Dallen Engemann led the Dons on an eight play, 60 yard drive on the ensuing possession to score the first touchdown of the game. Engemann capped the drive with a one yard run for his first rushing touchdown of the year. 

But Glendale would not roll over just yet as they bounced back on their next chance with the ball. GC got back in the game on a 55-yard catch and run by Jahrique Lowe from quarterback Nicholas Garcia to bring the score to 16-10 with 7:47 on the clock in the third quarter. 

With the momentum seemingly in Glendale's favor at that point, the Dons pulled out all the stops.

The Vaqueros looked like they got a stop as the Dons were in punting formation on their own 31 yard line on the next drive. But Santa Ana rolled the dice with a direct snap to running back Jamiel Henning, who ran for 31 yards to give the drive new life. The Dons finished that drive with an 18-yard touchdown to Kyran Hayes to extend their lead at 23-10. 

Following a couple stops from both teams, Santa Ana was able to pull away with another touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter when Engemann hit Cannon King for a screen route for a seven yard score. 

Glendale would score once more but could not catch up to the Don offense that found its rhythm.  

Engemann finished with 364 passing yards, three touchdowns in the air and a rushing touchdown. Henning got 22 carries and ran for 153 yards while Jackson Smith added 34 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

Nicholas Frengel had his best night of the year as he led a receiving core that had five individuals with seven catches a piece. The sophomore from Edison High recorded seven catches for 113 yards. 

Kyran Hayes, Kobe Kossak and Cannon King each grabbed seven and combined for 192 yards and two touchdowns. Kristian Constantine was the leader in receptions with nine, collecting 47 yards and a score on the way. 

The SAC defense looked good once again with defensive backs Jabez Gorham and Gabriel Magana leading in tackles with 11 between the two. Ethan Orona was right behind them as the freshman recorded five of his own.

Sophomore linebacker Matt Wann was key for Santa Ana as he picked up three tackles with two sacks and a forced fumble. As a team, they collected six more sacks which made them the leader in the state at 44 on the season. 

With the Dons finishing at .500 on the season, they are bowl eligible but their odds are low. They'll look forward to next season with plenty of pieces set to return to the team.