By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal
The Highlander defense, which held Sonora to 104 yards of total offense, has been dominant for five consecutive games now.
They have outscored opponents a combined 227-17 during that stretch and have yet to allow a touchdown in Freeway League play thus far.
“When you get stops and get them off the field, it gives our offense a chance to score,” said Frank Mazzotta, La Habra head coach. “Anytime you can shut your opponent out, they have no chance of winning.”
Quarterback Zach Fogel moved the ball methodically down the field with both his legs and his arm most of the night.
For the third consecutive week, Mazzotta found spots to weave sophomore quarterback Ryan Zanelli into the Highlanders offense.
Mazzotta acknowledged Fogel has been playing better than ever the past five weeks, but said he enjoys getting to see what his young quarterback can do against the opponents first teamers.
“To me it’s fun,” he said. “I really have fun with it.”
Anyone who has been around the La Habra football program knows how much he likes to give all of his players an opportunity to shine on Friday nights.
With his fourth quarter touchdown pass to senior Steven Saucedo, Zanelli has found the end zone in all three of his appearances.
The Raiders kept the game within striking distance for most of the first half.
It was 12-0 with under two minutes remaining in the first half. That’s when Fogel scrambled left and found Mitchell Anderson in the corner of the end zone for a 25-yard score to widen the gap.
A Nate Ulloa interception late in the third quarter set up Skyler Taylor’s 70-yard touchdown run on the very next play.
La Habra (6-2, 3-0) will host last season’s League Champs, Buena Park (1-7, 0-3), who have been scuffling next Friday.
Despite the score, Sonora (5-3, 1-2) has vastly improved from a season ago, in which they were winless. The Raiders will take on Sunny Hills (6-2, 1-2) in a pivotal game for both schools next week at Buena Park High School.
“The thing I love is that these kids now give themselves a chance to compete with a team of [La Habra’s] caliber,” said Daniel Morales, Sonora head coach. “I’m proud of the work they put in all year to get bigger and stronger.”