Dons Pass Heat Check

Hops / Receiver Nathanael Nicholson scores on a 20-yard touchdown thrown by quarterback Shane Truelove. / Jorge Campos / el Don

By Jorge Campos

After practicing all summer long on its own turf, the Dons looked right at home in its season opener against the Allan Hancock College Bulldogs on Sept. 6, where game time temperature was about 90 degrees.

Santa Ana Stadium has a synthetic turf field. Temperature levels on turf fields average about 120 degrees on warm days.

“I looked at my guys and told them we will have no excuses. We will travel every day and practice and do what we have to do,” Head Coach Geoff Jones said.

In a close game against Hancock, the Dons defense outlasted a tired Bulldogs offense, foiling it twice in the last four minutes of the game, after giving up 13 unanswered points. The Dons won 28-26.

“We gassed out in the end. I thought we did a good job preparing them but they were dehydrated,” Hancock Head Coach Kris Dutra said. “Most

of these kids have never played in this heat.”

The Dons hope to keep the momentum with a read-option heavy attack.

“It was hot, but our guys won because we made sure we took care of that at camp and prepared them to play a college football season,” said Special Teams Coach Adam Nyssen.

But Santa Ana College has more than conditioning on its side as the offense looks to put more points on the board based on a outstanding performance by sophomore quarterback Shane Truelove. He threw three touchdown passes to three different receivers for 169 yards.

“Our receivers are actually making plays this year. They give me a chance to throw it up and hope they catch it and make a play,” Truelove said.