Highlanders roll Sonora, extend both streaks
By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal
The La Habra High School football team continues to reach uncharted territory with every win, and this week against Sonora the Highlanders extended their county record league winning streak to 47 with a 56-0 blowout over the rival Raiders.
The Highlanders put up 50 points before the halftime gun sounded, with a eye-popping 36 in the first quarter alone.
With a big lead early, Head Coach Frank Mazzotta used the opportunity to get a lot of the younger players reps, which he has been talking about needing to do all season long.
“It means everything, there are so many kids who show up to practice everyday and work their butts off, to give them a chance to play under the lights, I love that, it’s one of my favorite things to do,” Mazzotta said.
Sonora couldn’t get anything going offensively all night and had a handful of miscues in the first 10 minutes, which gave the heavily favored Highlanders easy scoring opportunities.
Before the seats got warm La Habra had a commanding 22-0 lead.
Pervis Henderson had a 1-yard touchdown grab and Eli Anderson carried the ball in from 3 yards out on the Highlanders’ first two possessions, with 10:41 remaining in the opening frame.
On the Raiders next possession, Cameron Rivas held up Ethan Cook at the line of scrimmage and Madison Wheeler ripped the ball away for a 9-yard touchdown return on the fumble.
“On any given day, they are a good team, regardless of what their record might say, they’re a good team and on any given day you can get beat,” Rivas said. “So you just have to go out there and bring your A game.”
On the ensuing kickoff, Chigozie Anusiem looked to be attempting to deploy a reverse, but wound up backtracking a couple feet into the end zone, where he was downed for a safety.
The Highlanders added a couple additional scores when quarterback Zach Fogel hit both Prince Ross and Derrick Corso for touchdowns of 22 and 23 yards respectively.
By the time the second quarter rolled around, the game was already out of hand for Sonora. However, despite the lopsided loss, Head Coach Daniel Morales was proud of his team for continuing to battle until the final whistle.
“I applaud them for that, it’s not easy to do, [La Habra’s] a really great team, they’ve been great for a long time and they’ll continue to be great,” Morales said. “Where we are at right now, we were just not ready for a test like that, but these guys I’m so proud of them for giving everything they got until the very end.”
Morales was a former Highlander player and coach prior to taking over at Sonora.
Afterwards, Rivas shared a moment with his former coach, Morales.
“I just told him they got a hell of a coaching staff and to just keep their heads up and keep fighting because it’s a process,” Rivas said.
“The kids from this city have a lot of fight, I love coaching the kids from this city,” Morales said. “I am from here and I am proud of all of my guys.”
The Highlander defense held Sonora to three first downs in the first half, with a pair of them coming on penalties.
Fogel threw for 122 yards and three touchdowns, while Anderson gained 59 and two scores on the ground, with just four carries on the night.
Romeo Mergerson made his backfield debut for the Highlanders in the third quarter, carrying the ball down the field on just one series and totaled 51 yards with a touchdown.
The Highlanders (4-3, 2-0) stiffest test in league awaits, as they will travel the Buena Park (6-1, 2-0) next Friday.
Sonora (0-7, 0-2) will look to get into the win column when they host Sunny Hills (5-2, 1-1) at La Habra High School next Friday.
“I think we are getting better every week, that’s what I like,” Mazzotta said.