While the Santa Clara Bruins offense didn’t exactly paint a Picasso in the 17-7 victory over the Los Altos Eagles on Friday night, their defense nearly delivered a near picture perfect masterpiece with their performance.
Their lone blemish came halfway through the third quarter when the Eagles tied the game on a 96-yard touchdown pass on 3rd and 29. The shutout-breaking score could have been a back-breaking touchdown, but the defense forced a turnover on downs on the very next possession. After the Bruins retook the lead late in the fourth quarter on a 20-yard field goal by senior Dino Beslagic, the defense put the game away. Free safety Carson Muench read the quarterback’s eyes and intercepted a pass around midfield and returned it all the way for a touchdown with just under two minutes remaining.
“I saw him look to my side and I knew I was fast enough to get there so I just took off,” said Muench on his game-clinching pick-six touchdown. “Caught the ball and took it to the house, feels great.”
The senior defensive back wasn’t just a star on the defensive side of the ball. Muench scored the Bruins’ only offensive touchdown from his wide receiver position late in the second quarter on an end-around handoff. While it was the only offensive touchdown, it wasn’t the only highlight for the offense. Despite the offense struggling inside the red zone, senior quarterback Aiden Rangle delivered a couple of incredibly impressive throws. One of them was of the more traditional variety, but was a perfectly thrown ball lofted in stride to Muench, just over the defender who was trailing in one-one-one coverage.
The other completion was a mind-boggling, how-did-he-do-that, type throw. With the ball right around their own 40-yard line, Rangle took the snap and immediately had to scramble away from pressure. As he was getting chased towards the right sideline, Rangle was still moving at pretty good speed when he took a huge hit just before going out of bounds. Somehow right before getting hammered onto the sideline, Rangle managed to heave a throw downfield to the 15-yard line where Matthew Nguyen was able to make the catch.
“That was beautiful,” remarked Muench on the circus throw. “That was like Patrick Mahomes.”
“Reminiscent of Patrick Mahomes falling down,” echoed Bruins Head Coach Andrew Calderon. “He just hucks it and I’m watching him get destroyed and I’m thinking that’s a penalty and my back is to the play and I hear the roar [of the crowd] and Matt made a play at the other end.”
Rangle’s speed to the sideline allowed not only that jaw-dropping throw to go for a completion, but it also helped in the running game. The speedy quarterback ran multiple quarterback keepers for first down runs to keep the chains moving and set up the go-ahead field goal.
Essentially with the defense delivering a touchdown of their own, the field goal drive was all the defense needed to deliver the Bruins a victory. Defensive ends Jacob Allen and Fernando Perez were particularly impressive rushing the passer, as was linebacker Michael Rios who perfectly timed a delayed blitz for a sack of the Eagles quarterback.
Santa Clara opens the league portion of their schedule this week against Palo Alto.