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By STEVEN BARAN
Twelve months ago, the UHS Varsity Football team arrived for their non-league game at Estancia High School (EHS) feeling invincible. With a 3-0 record for the first time in years, the team felt as though they were undefeatable, only to travel back to Irvine with a crushing 25-point loss that put the brakes on a promising season. Former Co-Captain John Chung (2014) said, “I think our team was really confident going into the game. A little too confident. The success got into our heads and we might not have practiced as hard as we could’ve throughout the week.”
Learning from last year’s mistakes, the Trojans came into the game this year ready to work for the win. Despite a rocky first quarter which began with several punts and turnovers by both teams, the Trojans found a rhythm and built a steady lead. UHS put on a fundamentally sound performance in a 28-0 shutout of the Eagles (1-3) to improve to 4-0 on the season. The Trojans have already won as many games this season as they have in any year since 2008.
The last time UHS played EHS, quarterback Neil Boudreau (Sr.) and running back Sam Winder (Sr.) were both forced to watch their team struggle from the sidelines due to injuries. This year, however, the duo was a key component in the team’s decisive win. Boudreau completed 8 of 11 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown, while Winder ran for 66 yards.
“We knew this game would be a pretty big challenge,” Winder said. “Estancia is far better than our previous opponents, but we felt a lot more confident against them than we did last year.”
Tight end Michael Jung (Sr.) continued to be Boudreau’s number one weapon, with three catches for 50 yards and a touchdown. After kicking the game-winning extra point against Calvary Chapel, kicker Nick Loveland (Jr.) maintained his focused demeanor as a part of the Trojans Special Teams, making all four extra points.
The offensive line was perhaps the biggest asset during the game. Filled with seasoned players, the line provided the Trojan running game with holes and also gave Boudreau time to assess his options in the pocket.
“We have a lot of experience on our line and that has helped tremendously,” said Head Coach Mark Cunningham (Physical Education Dept.) after the win.
UHS has not had a 4-0 start since 2008. With league play only two weeks away, the Trojans are hoping to continue their undefeated run and make it to the CIF playoffs, something they have not achieved for close to a decade.