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By STEVEN BARAN
Varsity Football celebrated a 36-6 win over Segerstrom High School Friday night. UHS dominated all three facets of the game – offense, defense and special teams.
After the Jaguars’ first drive stalled out, Darrius Outland (Jr.) blocked a punt, giving UHS’s offense optimal field position. This ultimately led to the first of five touchdowns, a pass from Neil Boudreau (Sr.) to Bellal Mohebi (Sr.).
Matt Abellaneda (Sr.) showed his skills on both offense and defense on Friday with 99 rushing yards, a rushing touchdown and lockdown defense. Babak Ghadak-Saz (Sr.) and the rest of the Trojan offensive line controlled the trenches during the game, allowing space for Boudreau and the running game to flourish.
Alex Pourdanesh (So.), an upcoming underclassman whose father is Shar Pourdanesh, former NFL offensive lineman and UHS alumnus, caught another touchdown pass from Boudreau.
Another notable performance of the game was by cornerback Jalen Robertson (Jr.). Robertson, a transfer coming into his first year at UHS, recorded four tackles, a sack, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
Boudreau completed 6 of 10 passes for 77 yards and three touchdowns during the game.
Regardless of their stellar performance, the Trojans begin the 2015 season with much to prove. After a 2014 plagued by injury, they are looking to end a five-year streak of finishing last in the Pacific Coast League. In 2014, the team got off to a promising start with a 3-0 record. Despite their impressive takeoff, the Trojans lost their momentum, and they ended their season with zero league wins.
Head Coach Mark Cunningham (Physical Education Dept.) is confident in the roster’s added depth and leadership. Cunningham has seven starters returning on offense and eight on defense. UHS expects Abellaneda to be a leading contributor on both sides of the ball, playing as both a running-back and cornerback.
Ghadek-Saz is another experienced player and a leader on the offensive line. He is excited for his final season as a Trojan and said, “With the hiring of our new offensive line coach, Shar Pourdanesh, we have improved immensely on our technique and knowledge of the position.”
In addition to many returning Varsity starters, UHS also has several promising underclassmen on the 2015 squad, including four sophomores who all played in an undefeated freshman team in 2014. When asked about his thoughts on the upcoming season, Alex Pourdanesh stated that the four sophomores were proud of what they were able to accomplish last year, and are eager to take what they learned to the Varsity level.
UHS’s biggest asset will be quarterback Boudreau, whose 2014 season was cut short when he tore the cartilage in his knee just before league play. The senior quarterback is motivated to end his high school career on a high note and said, “Having a sideline view of our team’s downfall last year was tough. Knowing there was nothing I could do about it was even worse. This motivated me to work hard and to get my knee back in shape for this season.”
Many teams will overlook the Trojans, but Boudreau believes that the Trojans have all the weapons necessary to make a run for the Pacific Coast League title.