By Jim Tortolano
It was a night for celebration as La Quinta High held its annual homecoming event, and the Aztec football team defeated an undefeated Century High squad 35-25 to complete the pre-league season with a 5-0 mark going into next week’s Garden Grove League opener against Garden Grove.
Hey, but don’t pop the champagne or sparkling cider quite yet.
“The bottom line is that the champion is still Garden Grove and you’ve got to beat Garden Grove to be the champion,” said Aztec head coach Andy Diaz after the win at Bolsa Grande Stadium. “We are a very good Division 13 team and they’re Division 8. People don’t realize how tough Garden Grove is.”
La Quinta looked pretty tough, too, forcing turnovers and bouncing back despite some bad breaks. After falling behind 12-0 in the early going due to two scores by Century’s Alexis Rodriguez, the Aztecs rallied with a pair of touchdowns to take a 14-12 halftime lead. Michael Nadeau scored on a 12-yard keeper for the first LQ tally at the 8:03 mark of the second quarter and added another from the 2-yard line at 3:29.
Dylan Do took over the heavy lifting in the second half, scoring on a 31-yard romp, then adding a 3-yard touchdown on the next La Quinta possession for a 28-12 lead with 28 seconds left in the third quarter.
But the Centurions, who came into the game with a 4-0 mark, didn’t give up. Jodeci Pongphimkam’s running set up a drive to the Aztec 25, where Frederick Mendoza scored at the 9:58 mark of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 28-18. La Quinta answered with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Nadeau to Jayelen Walker at 7:30 for a 35-18 edge.
Century cut the lead to 10 points when the visitors scored on a keeper by Fernando Cambray with 1:09 left in the game to make it 35-25, but an onside kick failed and the Aztecs ran out the clock.
“It was a great job by our defense. It did an incredible job of getting us the ball on turnovers and we were able to capitalize on offense,” said Diaz.
Can a resurgent Aztec program – which was 1-9 just a few years ago – end Garden Grove’s five-year run as GGL champions? We’ll see who is celebrating on Oct. 6.
Friday night football
Here are results from Friday night’s prep football games for teams in the Garden Grove-Huntington Beach-Westminster area. All are non-league contests.
- La Quinta 35, Century 25: Aztecs stay unbeaten (see story above).
- Garden Grove at Laguna Hills: Game cancelled because of illness on the part of some LHHS players and possible contagion.
- Santiago: 38, Savanna 29: The Cavaliers rallied with 11 points in the fourth quarter to defeat the Rebels. Santiago (3-2) was led by Dylan Ourng, who rushed for 206 yards.
- Orange 45, Godinez 14: Jason Wilkinson threw for two touchdowns as the Panthers (5-0) won at Fred Kelly Stadium. Syrus Collins had two interceptions and ran for a score in the victory.
- Saddleback 45, Los Amigos 14: The Lobos fell to 1-4 after Friday’s loss to the Roadrunners.
- San Clemente 23, Edison 20: After falling behind 17-6 at the intermission, a second half rally fell short for the Chargers (3-2) in this non-league contest. Griffin O’Connor passed for 210 yards and two scores for Edison.
- Marina 54, Whittier Christian 21: The Vikings (3-2) posted a 28-7 halftime lead and rolled to the big win at Whittier College. Brandon Savea and Blaine Riederich rushed for 182 and 158 yards, respectively, for Marina.
Categories: High school sports