Archive | August, 2013

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Turnovers cost Sonora in season opener

Posted on 31 August 2013 by La Habra Journal

Sonora's Jamaal Anderson is wrapped up by Whittier defensive back Gabriel Martinez in the Raiders' 28-21 loss at home, Friday night.

Sonora’s Jamaal Anderson is wrapped up by Whittier defensive back Gabriel Martinez in the Raiders’ 28-21 loss at home, Friday night.

The Sonora football team allowed 14 fourth quarter points, leading to a 28-21 home loss to Whittier in the first game of the season for both schools, Friday night.

Jacob Kent scored three touchdowns for the Raiders and finished with 58 yards rushing, while Jamaal Anderson added 79 yards on the ground.

However, the duo were outdone by Whittier fullback Eddie Orta, who scored all four of the Cardinals touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

Orta recorded 26 carries for 92 yards for the Cardinals (1-0).

The Raiders (0-1) lost two fumbles in the second quarter and threw an interception in the fourth. Whittier scored two touchdowns in each of the second and fourth quarters.

Cole McDonald blocked a punt for the Raiders and Dakota Eckheart recovered a fumble.

Sonora heads to Brea Olinda (0-1) for a nonleague game against the Wildcats next Friday.

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Highlanders ace early test against El Toro

Posted on 31 August 2013 by La Habra Journal

LaHabraHelmetby Jeremiah Girard
La Habra Journal


LAKE FOREST – The La Habra football team met early expectations of a great season with a 26-3 victory over the El Toro Chargers, Friday night at Trabuco Hills High.

The game started off with its fair share of ups and downs. The opening kickoff was returned to the 48 yard line by La Habra’s Miles Robertson. However, the drive went for a 10 yard net loss, and La Habra was forced to punt.

El Toro then drove the ball down to the 15-yard line after the punt, but could not convert on a 32 yard field goal. The Highlanders then took over at the 20-yard line.

Sophomore quarterback Eric Barriere made his varsity debut and did not disappoint. On the first play of the drive, Barriere unleashed a bomb down field that was caught by Edrick Flores who ran it in to complete and 80-yard touchdown play. The point-after-attempt was blocked, so the lead was 6-0.

“I felt really good after the game,” said Barriere. “The coaches told me to go out there and be myself, and really helped take some of the pressure off me.”

Even though the scoreboard did not show it, El Toro’s offense did a solid job of moving the ball downfield. The Chargers’ ensuing drive started at the 28-yard-line and made its way into the red zone, as quarterback Trey Tinsley picked apart the La Habra defense.

After an amazing catch by Dominic Collins on a 22-yard pass from Tinsley, the Chargers took a shot at the end zone. The pass was intercepted by Mike Willer inside the one-yard line.

La Habra then had to punt, and El Toro drove the ball back inside the 5-yard line, as the first quarter wound down. The Highlanders forced the Chargers to settle for a field goal and Aaron Ball nailed a 22-yarder to cut the lead deficit to 6-3 after the first quarter.

The Highlanders completed a 46-yard pass early in the second that was called back for a holding penalty. The biggest red flag for the Highlanders seemed to be penalties and they had a lot of big plays called back.

“Our discipline was definitely a problem,” said head coach Frank Mazzotta. “We had some personal fouls and had some big plays called back.”

La Habra decided to go for the first down on some fourth down plays in the second and were unable to capitalize on a pair of fourth-and-long plays. One of them allowed El Toro to take over at the La Habra 26-yard-line, but Tinsley threw an interception on the first play. Devon Drake returned it for a touchdown, but once again it was called back because of a penalty.

Late in the second, Tinsley threw another pick to Jackson Willard, and he returned it 60 yards to the El Toro 20-yard-line, with just over a minute remaining. The first play of the drive was a 20-yard touchdown pass from Barriere to Christian Casas. La Habra took a 13-3 lead into the third quarter.

The second half was more of the same for La Habra. On their first drive of the second half, Barriere connected with Casas again, this time for a 51-yard-score. The PAT was missed and La Habra took a 19-3 lead.

Casas finished the game with 81 yards receiving out of Barriere’s 188 yards. He also caught two out of the three touchdown passes.

“I thought I played okay,” said the senior wide receiver. “I felt a little slower than usual tonight.”

The score remained the same until midway through the fourth quarter. Defensive tackle Greg Gaines took a handoff on a short yardage play from the 16-yard-line and bulldozed his way through the Charger defense for a touchdown. A PAT from Willard concluded the scoring.

The Highlanders will look to improve to 2-0, as they take on La Mirada, next Friday at La Mirada, at 7 p.m.

“The best part was we didn’t even play very well,” said Mazzotta.

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Heralds football endures conditions, blows by Bishop Union

Posted on 31 August 2013 by La Habra Journal

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal


BISHOP – Battling high heat and dry conditions, the Whittier Christian football team looked more at home than its counterpart in a 41-20 nonleague victory over Bishop Union, Friday night at Bishop Union High School.

Using a no-huddle offense, quarterback Ryan Esslinger completed 28-40 passes for 302 touchdowns, but it was the ground game and special teams that accounted for all the Heralds points.

Junior receiver Noah Evans was the primary target, hauling in 12 passes for 161 yards. Nick Watase and Kevin Hoskins caught seven passes each.

“We’re going to wear other teams down with our tempo, especially if they have guys going both ways,” said Sergio Gradilla, Whittier Christian head coach. “We tell our guys it’s going to pay off in the fourth quarter and that’s what happened tonight.”

With the scored tied after the first quarter, Derek Brush hit field goals of 45, 40, and 35 yards to give the Heralds a first-half lead. He hit another field goal in the second half.

Back-up running back Michael Cajera gave Whittier Christian a 23-7 halftime lead with a 5-yard run up the middle.

“Over the summer and even in spring, [Derek] was kicking everyday, we told him his hard work was going to pay off,” Gradilla said. “We want to get touchdowns when we get inside, but knowing we can guarantee three points, it’s a great feeling.”

When the Broncos pushed the score to within six points in the third quarter, Whittier Christian put the game away with two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter on scoring runs by Esslinger and Watase.

From the start, the Heralds looked strong offensively, needing only 2:40 to score the game’s first touchdown.

Esslinger connected with his first four passes and running back David Fischer capped the 65-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge. Fischer finished with 72 yards on 16 carries.

The Heralds then added 16 points in the second quarter, 10 of which came after a forced fumble and recovery by Austin Gray and an interception by outside linebacker Mitchell Neller.

Defensively, safety Dylan Murphy led the charge with nine tackles.

“We are so much improved on defense compared to last year,” Gradilla said. “I think experience has helped, guys aren’t thinking about it, they’re just flying to the football.”

However, in the third quarter, Bishop Union made a statement. Trailing 26-7, the Broncos put together two successful scoring drives, both capped by wide receiver Noah Stevens with touchdown runs of three and 27 yards.

Stevens scored three touchdowns and finished with 143 rushing yards on 14 attempts.

Seeing their lead shrunk to six points, the Heralds turned up the pressure on both sides of the ball in the fourth quarter. Esslinger capped a drive midway through the quarter with a seven yard rushing touchdown.

With less than two minutes remaining, Watase scored on an end around, using his blazing speed to burst up the sideline for a 15-yard score to lead to the game’s final score.

“Some of our guys didn’t have the best scrimmage last week, Noah and Nick included, but we saw tonight that they can definitely make plays,” Gradilla said. “I’m really proud of the way our guys performed tonight.”

Whittier Christian has another road game next Friday against Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary in Montebello. Last season, the Heralds trounced the Cardinals 49-6.

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