Raiders run over Fullerton
By Alex Milledge
La Habra Journal
FULLERTON – The Sonora Raiders opened up the game with a fierce ground attack in the first half and kept Fullerton on their heels during the second to pull out a commanding 28-11 Freeway League victory Friday night. .
Sonora opened up the game on the opening drive, handing the ball to go to running back Matt Villasenor who hammered the ball in on a two-yard touchdown run, to put the Raiders ahead 7-0. Fullerton’s was then forced to punt the ball away. The Raiders ran the ball down the field again before Quarterback Kyle Mahlstede connected on a 34-yard setup pass that later lead to a second Viasenor touchdown in the first quarter Villasenor finished the night with 16 carries for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
Despite being shutout of the first quarter, Fullerton got on the scoreboard After Sonora snapped the ball over the punter and the Indians picked it up in the red zone. and Indian quarterback Scott Lloyd gave the ball to running back Jesus Nodarse who punched it in for a touchdown, a missed conversion conversion attempt put the score at 14-6.
However, the Raiders (4-3, 2-0) went unfazed, and continued their ground battle on schedule. Kyle Mahlstede ran for a 22-yard score to extend the Raider lead to 21-6. Both teams went back and forth for the last few minutes in a ground battle that consisted of running options and a few gains through the air. With time winding down to the halftime, the Indians situated themselves before finding a wide-open Nodarse for a 16-yard receiving touchdown to make the score 21-11 at half time.
The second half saw hard-nosed defense on the part of Raiders and a plethora of missed chances by the Indians as the Raiders held the Indians to no score. The ground game raged throughout the third quarter with Raiders Justin Mun ran in a 9-yard touchdown capping off the scoring and sealing the Raider victory.
“[The Win] was huge. The goal is win a league championship and make it to the playoffs, and sitting 2-0 is putting us in the right spot to where we should be,” said Sonora Head Coach Paul Chiotti.
The Raiders put forth their running game and relied heavily on their workhorse Villasenor in the first half. “Getting our running game is very important to us. He’s one of those kids that are really important to us and our team,” Chiotti said
On the other side of the ball, Fullerton’s Lloyd had an exceptional night going 7 for 8 with 108 passing yards and a 23-yard rushing touchdown before being pulled midway though the second half.
The Raiders were able to stop any momentum the Indians tried to muster in the second half. The Raiders made many key stops however, leaving some opportunities such as a botched snap that came during the 3rd quarter that opened a huge drive by Indians before the raiders’ intercepted the ball in their red zone. “We made some key plays to get off the field. We’ve been a second half team this whole year,” Chiotti said.
Sonora will stay in Fullerton again next Friday when they take on Troy on Oct. 19. They return home to battle Sunny Hills and then face La Habra on Nov. 2 for the city championship.
“We are just taking it day-by-day because that’s what we can control,” Chiotti said.