By John Baker
Dominating every portion of the game, Mission High School’s football team handily dispatched Balboa on Saturday afternoon with a 53-8 Academic Athletic Association victory at School of the Arts.
Mission senior quarterback Antoine Porter threw five touchdown passes and brought back a punt for another score to lead his squad to the victory.
“I know [my receivers] are special players, because they go get it every single time,” Porter said. “In practice they give it 100 percent, so I know they’re going to get the ball.”
Three of the touchdown passes were to wide receiver Alex Tico, on scores of 42, 47 and 18 yards. The others were to Demetrius Thibeaux (51 yards) and Roy Sauceda (5 yards). Mission only led 7-0 midway through the second quarter, but scored 20 points in the final 5 minutes of the half to take a 27-0 lead at the break.
“We might have opened up slow, but I was just kind of getting used to the defense they were playing [and] the kind of coverage they were running,” Porter said. “Once I figured that out, I was able to pick my receivers . . . and I just hit them.”
Balboa (1-6, 1-3) didn’t score until the final play of the game, on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Eli Smoot to James Woods. It was the only pass, out of 12 attempts, that the Bucs completed
Jalil Burns made the most of his only carry for the Bears, taking it 68 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter, and was Mission’s leading rusher.
“We started off a little sluggish [and] I thought they did a good job shutting down our run,” said Mission head coach Joe Albano. “And then we were able to get some good deep balls on them. That helped us out a little bit.”
Even when Mission (5-2, 4-0) called off the dogs offensively, their defense and special teams kept adding to the tally. With 9:40 left in the game, Porter took a punt back 70 yards for a score, and on the ensuing Balboa possession, Mission’s London Reynolds returned an interception 51 yards for a score to put his team up 53-0.
“Everyone just did a good job doing their assignments,” Albano said. “That’s what defense is really about.”
The Mission defense also caught a break in the second quarter, when Balboa’s standout running back Antoine Crecy went down with an apparent knee injury and left the game after carrying the ball just six times for 33 yards.
“Once that happened, we were able to settle back [in] a little bit, because he was getting some yards in the beginning,” Albano said.
With Crecy out, running back Will Barnett provided the bulk of Balboa’s offense, tallying 84 yards on 17 carries.
M: 0:56 – Alex Tico 42-yard pass from Antoine Porter (Peter Lee kick)
M: 4:28 – Demetrius Thibeaux 51-yard pass from Porter (Lee kick)
M: 1:10 – Tico 47-yard pass from Porter (conversion failed)
M: 0:04 – Sauceda 5-yard pass from Porter (Lee kick)
M: 3:11 – Tico 18-yard pass from Porter (Lee kick)
M: 0:23 – Jalil Burns 68-yard run (kick failed)
M: 9:40 – Porter 70-yard punt return (kick failed)
M: 7:00 – London Reynolds 51-yard interception return (Lee kick)
B: 0:00 – James Woods 19-yard pass from Eli Smoot (Smoot run on conversion)