By ALLAN ZENG
The Trojans faced Irvine High School last Friday, and though they fought hard, they ultimately fell to Irvine 39-7. They couldn’t get off to the start they needed, falling behind 22-0 at halftime. Although they performed better in the second half, the team ultimately could not overcome their slow start.
However, there were some encouraging moments throughout the game, even if University was ultimately defeated. Despite a slow start, starting quarterback and Sophomore Ziyad Merchant’s performance improved in the second half, connecting with fellow Sophomore Patrick Bassily for a touchdown. Merchant finished the game with 179 total yards and completions to 7 different receivers. Senior Captain Branton Lucas also played in his first game since early September. Lucas looked spry in his return, amassing 32 receiving yards on 3 receptions.
Head Coach Chris Hernandez spoke positively of his team’s sophomores, as well as Branton Lucas’ return from injury.
“We’re really fortunate Ziyad, Patrick, and Noah Scherson, whose our leading receivers, are all sophomores. We have a lot of potential, we’re young. They’ve done a great job, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing those guys develop. Branton returned from injury and we’re easing him back in. He held up really well. His knee was fine and he responded well. This week I think we can increase the amount of plays that he gets and we can use him a little more,” Hernandez said.
Many players were also resolute in their ability to pull off a win in their upcoming game against Woodbridge.
Senior Arash Esfahani said, “I think our offense will step it up this week and start putting up more points. And I think our defense is going to play great this week.”
When asked if there was some extra motivation against Woodbridge, fellow Senior Isaiah Flores simply said:
“Woodbridge is Woodbridge. That’s enough motivation for us.”
The Trojans’ next game will be Woodbridge High School this Friday, October 25th at University High.