Otay Ranch quarterback Puka Stewart cruises into the endzone to put the Mustangs within four points of Point Loma in the 4th quarter.
Otay Ranch’s offense came alive in the second half as the visiting Mustangs defeated Olympian 29-16 Friday night in the start of Metro Mesa League play.
It was a defensive struggle for both teams early in the game, with Otay Ranch leading 3-0 halftime lead.
Even in the second half neither team could mount consistent drives.
Otay Ranch (4-3, 1-0), however, had the benefit of having one of the top QBs in the county in Jonte Stewart.
The dual-threat playmaker was electrifying in the second half, giving the Mustangs a much-needed jolt of energy to start league play on the right foot.
“He just does what he does,” Otay Ranch coach Lance Christensen said.
“We’ve talked about it before, (Stewart’s) got such great poise. He’s a double-threat. He can run the ball and he can throw the ball, and that creates different challenges for defenses to account for.”
It was Stewart’s defender-evading 37-yard touchdown pass to Marwan Phillips that helped the Mustangs pull away to a 15-0 lead in the third quarter. After dodging multiple defenders in the backfield, Stewart composed himself and threw a dart across the field to an open Phillips, whose speed took care of the rest.
Olympian (1-6, 0-1) dropped another game in an injury-plagued season. Senior RB Arnold Escano started at QB and threw a pair of TD passes, but unsurprisingly struggled with accuracy.
Eagles coach Paul Van Nostrand was optimistic when asked about the health of his injured starters.
“We’re just hoping to get some guys back,” Van Nostrand said. “I got my fingers crossed. We should be getting a couple back for Mater Dei for sure, then hopefully a few more. There’s quite a few that are out.”
Terrones is a freelance writer.
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