The Santa Ana Dons won their final game of conference on Nov. 12 against the Glendale Vaqueros with a final score of 44-17. The Dons finished their season in second place within the American Metro conference.
The Dons end their season with a 5-5 overall record as well as 4-1 in conference games. As the season started off rough, the Dons found their footing winning three straight games. In the end, the Dons did not qualify for a postseason appearance, despite their strong finish.
Hard hits were a common sight on this cold night, as both teams wanted to close out their season with a win.
Injuries played a huge factor in this game, as the Vaqueros suffered many throughout the four quarters.
The first half showed many great defensive stands by both teams, as field goals were the only way either side put points on the board. The first half ended with a score of 9-3 in the Dons favor.
What seemed to be a kicking contest in the first half, turned into an explosive second half by the Dons, both offensively and defensively. Offensive lineman Wyatt Terlaak acknowledged that even though they did a great job in the second half, consistency through four quarters is key, all season long.
“We executed a lot better in the second half,” said Terlaak. “Third and long situations came and our guys stuck to the game plan and made plays when needed.”
Some highlights on the offensive side were running back Jamiel Henning who led the team in rushing with 153 yards on 22 attempts. This rushing attack helped open up the pass game led by quarterback Dallen Engemann, who threw 38 completions on 49 attempts for 364 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. Engemann also had a rushing touchdown. Wide receiver Nicholas Frengel led the team in receiving yards with 113 yards on just seven catches.
Defensive highlights included linebacker Matt Wann, who led the team in sacks with two and one forced fumble. Linebacker Jaden Genova had two fumble recoveries,helping the offense get great field positioning against the Vaqueros defense. Coach Anthony White was proud of how the defense was able to create great field positioning opportunities for the offense.
“We did a great job of getting turnovers,” said White. “We ended the season being the number one team in southern California in sacks. Getting to the quarterback was vital to creating turnovers and I think we did a great job with that.”
Looking back at the season, White is proud of the bonds he made with his staff as well as his players.
“I love coaching with my brothers,” said White. “The coaching staff did a phenomenal job, building relationships with the student athletes. Helping the young men grow, you know. It’s more than just football, it’s about changing lives.”