Defense leads to offense

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FOOTBALL MID-SEASON UPDATE:

Linebacker Billy Tanuvasa ended any hope Orange Coast College had of pushing for a second overtime by sacking Pirate quarterback Cameron Biedgoly to cap off the Dons 45-38 comeback win in the Victory Flag rivalry Oct 13.

“I saw an opening, shot the gap and I got the sack. It feels great to get the flag back for Santa Ana College,” said Tanuvasa, who is part of a deep defensive line that has helped the Dons to a 5-2 record, and recovered the symbolic flag they lost last year. Through seven games, nine players have 25 or more tackles, and seven have at least one interception.

The athletic linebacking core has tallied 50 tackles for losses totaling 209 yards. Team captains Nate Cox and Marc Millan have combined for over half of the team’s 20 sacks.

“Our defense is fast, we have great leadership with Nate and Marc,” Head Coach Geoff Jones said.

But the Dons also have to reach the end zone, and scoring hasn’t been a problem for the SAC offense.

Led by running back Areseo Lakey and wide receiver Josh Webb, the Dons have averaged 214 yards per game on the ground and 215 through the air.

Lakey is one of three talented running backs in the Dons offense, including freshmen Brett Hurley and Divonte Beale. Through seven games, the trio has combined for 1,010 total yards and has scored eight times.

“We are going downhill at you as fast as we can,” Jones said. “It is a necessity to have multiple guys who can run the ball.”

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Webb has been a beast for the defenses to contain. His 623 total yards, on 31 receptions, is more than the next six Dons receivers combined.

“Josh [Webb] is as good as anyone in Southern California,” Jones said. “He is an electric playmaker and always has been.”

Despite the Dons success, quarterback is far from settled. Freshman Hayden Gavett earned the starting role, Jones said, though his durability has been a problem. In multiple games, Gavett has been relieved by teammate Beau Perry.

“Hayden won the job with his skill set in running the spread and option,” Jones said. “Beau has a complete grasp of the offense and he throws the ball as good as anyone.”

The Dons next play at Palomar, Saturday at 6 p.m.


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