Raiders take season opener against Whittier
By Erik Marcus
La Habra Journal
Sonora got out to a running start to begin the season with a 41-15 victory over Whittier.
“Last year’s behind us they’ve worked hard and they wanted to come out here and get this and so its great for the kids, it gets them excited gets us ready for the season,” Head coach Paul Chiotti said
The Raider’s dominated on the offensive line holding out the Cardinal defense
“We’ve got a great offensive line coming back from last year, the guys up front, they’re going to be physical,” Chiotti said.
With the line holding, the Raiders’ offense controlled the tempo behind the rushing of quarterback Cole McDonald and running back Jacob Frimbres
“They’re going to let those two guys showcase their skills,”
Chiotti added, “it’s a nice duo of McDonald and Fimbres in the backfield, and I think it makes it tough to look at just one guy.”
Between McDonald and Fimbres, the two accounted for five Raider touchdowns.
The Raiders’ defense also had a strong showing holding the Cardinals to only three points in the first half and 15 points total.
“We were physical at the point, we were getting off the field, and then once our offense started going and we started making those big plays, they definitely put the other team in a bind where now they had to do some things that they didn’t want to do and we were able to take advantage of that and make them a little one dimensional,” Chiotti said.
Senior Cornerback Jonathan Rodriguez took an interception back for the score with the game well in hand.
With seconds left in the game the Raiders collected another interception before running out the clock.
“Coming off to a slow start, we didn’t score that much in the first half and you know you just got to get the boys riled up,” McDonald said.
With the clock running down in the first quarter, Fimbres set up the Raiders first scoring drive when he hurdled the defense to get to the one yard line. From there he punched it in to start the second quarter to give the R aiders a 7-0 lead.
The Raider defense forced a three and out which set up Cole McDonald for a 47 yard touchdown run.
On third and 8 Cole McDonald looked to bury the Cardinals.
Under pressure from the Cardinals’ pass rush, McDonald escaped a sack, but threw an interception that would lead to a 21 yard field goal to end the first half.
In the second half the Raiders maintained the momentum on offense as McDonald and Fimbres seemed to run down the field with ease.
“We kept playing no matter what the scoreboard was halftime 0-0 again, new game” Fimbres said about his approach.
With the ball on the goal line McDonald overthrew a pass into the end zone. The Cardinals field goal coverage stiffened, blocking the kick and picking up the ball on the Raider 41 yard line.
One of McDonald’s season goals is to fine tune his passing and have a better understanding of the offense.
“Getting my fundamentals down working with my quarterback coach, my offensive coordinator just really knowing the offense, getting my reads down and hitting the right guys at the right time,” McDonald said.
With six minutes left in the third quarter, Fimbres added his second touchdown on a 19-yard run.
Cole McDonald followed Fimbres’ impressive rushing effort with a 72-yard scamper down the sideline for his second touchdown to give the Raiders a commanding 28-3 lead.
As McDonald was running down the sideline, it looked like he nearly lost the football.
“I had my sleeve on, and I switched (the ball), and it just slipped out and I grabbed it in the air and almost fumbled it,” McDonaldl added in relief.
The Cardinals finally found the end zone when Luis Valero caught a pass out of the backfield. After the catch he eluded the initial tacklers breaking into the open field and running in for the touchdown.
The Cardinals failed to convert the two-point conversion, as they could feel the pressure to score in bunches.
Fimbres added his third score of the game with a one-yard run which gave the Raiders a 34-9 lead after a missed extra point.
Rodriguez intercepted the ball on the 23-yard line with plenty of room to run scoring on the play.
The Cardinals added a passing touchdown by Dylan Salcid to to bring the final score to 41-15.
The Raiders will welcome Brea Olinda High School into La Habra Stadium next Friday as they look to build off of this performance
“Tonight was a step in the right direction,” Chiotti said. “I think they are going to represent the school and this community in a wonderful way. I kind of challenge everybody in the city of La Habra to come out and watch some Sonora football. See what these boys who are from La Habra and how hard they work and all the great things they’re going to accomplish. , they’ve worked hard, and I think the whole city will be pretty surprised at this group and what they’re going to accomplish this year.”