The glow that is the Casa Grande High School football season got a little brighter Friday night when the Gauchos manhandled Ukiah, 45-17. The win was the eighth straight without a loss for the Gauchos, who are now just two victories away from the first perfect regular season in the school's history.
Casa Grande could have been expected to win over Ukiah's Wildcats, who came onto the Big House turf with a 2-5 record. What was not expected was for Casa's first-team offense to score every time it touched the football. Six times the Gaucho front-line players were given possession and six times they scored. Once they scored in four plays, once in three and once without running a play. That happened when running back John Porchivina grabbed the second-half kickoff and jetted 95 yards to the house. The senior quickly found a lane to the left sideline and left nothing but a vapor trail on his way to the end zone.
That explosion made the score 42-7 and triggered several changes in the game. For one thing, both coaches agreed to play the remainder of the game with a running clock shortly after the romp. For another, Casa Grande quarterback JaJuan Lawson never re-entered the game in the second half and most of his fellow starters soon joined him on the sideline.
Before the continuously moving clock expired, Casa Grande tacked on three points on a 37-yard Matt Abramo field goal and Ukiah's irrepressible quarterback Cheyenne Noda ran in a Wildcat satisfying, but meaningless, final touchdown from the 1-yard line.
Ukiah did have a legitimate and very impressive drive in the first quarter against the Casa Grande first-unit defense, grinding 80 yards behind the running of Noda and Koa Sibley in a march that consumed the final six minutes of the period and finally ended two plays into the second quarter on a 10-yard scoring run by the quarterback.
So dominating was the Wildcat drive, that Casa Grande had only four offensive plays in the opening quarter. It was enough. Lawson ran 30 yards on the Gauchos' first play of the evening, Cody Hughson gained 13, Lawson plunged for three and Porchivina blasted up the middle 10 yards for the touchdown.
Casa bettered itself in its next possession using just three pays to go 73 yards. The majority of that yardage came on a 55-yard touchdown pass connection from Lawson to Andre Kupelian, who spiraled into the end zone.
The rest of the night belonged almost totally to the Gauchos. Before the half had ended, Casa scored on a 5-yard run by Lawson, a 10-yard pass from Lawson to Porchivina and , with just 37 seconds until the intermission, on a 22-yard pass from Lawson to Kupelian.
It goes without needing to be said that Abramo successfully booted PATs following each Casa score.
Porchivina's return made the second half pretty much a formality with the Gauchos clearing their bench to let clean jerseys effectively close out the win.