Nov 04 2023 11:02:17

Photos by Susan Coulter, Tim Lunney & Clarissa Johnson, game info/stats from Harry Joe, & video by David Guerrero


It’s been said that stats can never tell the whole story.

But in Friday’s CIF-SS Division 9 opener between St. Margaret’s and Rio Hondo Prep, the statistics are clear as day as to why the Kares are headed to the second round.

RHP edged their visitors, 28-26, thanks to a nearly 40-8 (minute) advantage in the time-of-possession battle.

The Kares out-rushed the Tartans, 359-65, and yet the difference turned out to be a failed one-and-two-point conversion attempts by the boys from San Juan Capistrano.

St. Margaret’s did their damage through the air.

The Tartans had a 274-25 edge in their passing game, and they scored three of their four TD’s that way.

Max Ruff hit Luke Newman on a 16-yard TD pass with 8:17 to play in the game.

St. Margaret’s went for two in an attempt to tie the game at 28-28, but Ruff’s pass to Will Viola was batted away by Tyler Dang.

Believe it or not, the RHP ground game was effective enough to run the final 8:17 off the clock.

In fact, they drove the ball 65 yards all the way down to the St. Margaret’s 17-yard line before taking a knee and watching the clock count its way down to zero.

The Tartans had already used all three of their second-half timeouts in the third quarter.

RHP’s Noah Penunuri and Nate Curtis combined for 288 yards rushing on 49 carries.

Penunuri had TD runs of 17, 1 and 14 yards, and he had a game-high 161 yards on the ground.

His first two scores caught St. Margarets at 7-7 and 14-14, and his final TD stretched the RHP lead to 28-20 with 11:52 to play in the game.

Curtis had 127 yards rushing on 23 carries, and his 1-yard TD run with 4:22 to play in the third quarter gave Rio Hondo Prep its first lead of the game at 21-14.

Caeden Holcomb gained 73 yards on 15 carries in Friday’s win.

Max Ruff completed 15-of-21 for 274 yards.

Aside from his TD pass mentioned above, Ruff also connected with Russell Frye and Will Viola on scoring strikes of 16 and 19 yards, respectively, for the Tartans.

Frye caught six passes for 146 yards, while Maverick Young finished with 73 receiving yards on four catches.

Both programs played with discipline.

RHP was flagged just three times for 13 yards and St. Margarets was penalized five times for 65 yards.

Neither program punted on Friday.

Up next: The Kares travel to Orange next Friday.

The Panthers (7-4) secured a 19-12 victory at Diamond Bar in their first-round contest.

To view a photo gallery by Susan Coulter, click on the Facebook link here: Facebook

To view a photo gallery by Clarissa Johnson, click on the Facebook link here: Facebook

To view a photo gallery by Tim Lunney, click on the Facebook link here: Facebook


Rio Hondo Prep coach, Mark Carson: “Our offensive line dominated. Colby, Zach, Matthew, Elijah, Ivan and Josh played a near perfect game. Coach Johnson also called a great game. A classic Rio big game W.”

Box Score:
SM: 7-7-6-6-(26)
RHP: 0-14-7-7-(28)

SM: Russell Frye 16 pass from Max Ruff (Nathaniel Kim kick)
RHP: Noah Penunuri 17 run (Alex Mustain kick)
SM: Will Viola 19 pass from Max Ruff (Nathaniel Kim kick)
RHP: Noah Penunuri 1 run (Alex Mustain kick)
RHP: Nate Curtis 1 run (Alex Mustain kick)
SM: Maverick Young 35 run (kick failed)
RHP: Noah Penunuri 14 run (Alex Mustain kick)
SM: Luke Newman 16 pass from Max Ruff (pass failed)

Records: St. Margarets (6-5); Rio Hondo Prep (10-1)

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