By Christopher Abdelmalek
Walter Gooding lead the Aztecs of Esperanza High School to an impressive 45-3 victory over the Vaqueros from Rancho Alamitos High School Friday night to kick off the first round of the CIF Division 13 playoffs at Bolsa Grande Stadium in Garden Grove.
Gooding finished the game with 238 yards and two touchdowns on only 14 carries.
“Everything I do is because of the offensive line. They open up the holes and make a path for me to do what I can do,” said Gooding.
Gooding started the game off with some stellar runs to get the Aztecs down to the nine-yard line where fullback Taylor Papasima ran up the middle to give them an early 7-0 lead. After a quick three and out by the Vaqueros, the Aztecs marched down the field again thanks to Gooding. He set them up on the 11-yard line, where quarterback Lucas Duran tossed an 11-yard pass to the other fullback Ethan Avalos for a touchdown to go up 14-0 near the end of the first quarter.
Coach Wes Choate said “Our [North Hills] league sharpens us up, our league is so tough, when you go through a gauntlet of games like that you have no choice but to get better.”
The Vaqueros started off shaky going three and out on their first two possessions before quarterback Isaac Plata threw an interception to Coby Hoke. After that quarterback Jacob Castro entered the game and brought a little life to the offense. They were able to move the ball down and the end of the first quarter to set up a field goal early in the second quarter by kicker Andres Puentes from 35 yards out.
With the score at 14-3 the momentum felt like it was going to swing in the Vaqueros favor but they failed on a 4th and goal from the 5-yard line to score. The Aztecs then marched out of danger and Gooding busted out a 60-yard touchdown run to essentially ice the game for Esperanza, putting the lead up to 21-3.
Gooding then had a 67-yard touchdown run to put the Aztecs up 28-3 at halftime. A few more scores were added on including a 31-yard interception returned for a touchdown by Duran who also played snaps at wide receiver and cornerback.
Esperanza (7-4) will play the winner of the Fillmore vs. South Pasadena game next week.
Rancho Alamitos finished the season with a 7-4 overall mark and tied for the Garden Grove League title along with Loara and Santiago.
Here are scores from Friday night’s CIF-SS football playoffs involving local teams. Results will be posted as they are received.
• Division 1
Edison 42, Heritage 27.
• Division 7
Cypress 35, Huntington Beach 8.
• Division 8
Trabuco Hills 24, Pacifica 10.
Palmdale 18, Garden Grove 0.
• Division 10
Orange 48, San Marino 7.
• Division 11
Marina 42, Trabuco Hills 8.
• Division 12
El Monte 60, Ocean View 21.
• Division 13
Esperanza 45, Rancho Alamitos 3.
• Division 14
St. Pius X.-St, Mathias 41, Santiago 3.
Loara 35, Cal Military 6 (Thursday result).
Categories: High school sports