By Jim Tortolano
It was close and it was just a little too exciting for Rancho Alamitos head football coach Mike Enright in the Vaqueros’ 22-21 win over Anaheim Thursday night at Bolsa Stadium in Garden Grove.
“The kids played hard, but we keep making mistakes,” he said. “It’s the little things that get you.”
The margin of the non-league win for the green-and-gold was slim but it was enough to improve Rancho’s record to 2-0. For those of you keeping score, RA is now 7-0 in 2021, having won all five of its spring games and grabbing the Garden Grove League title in that unusual coronavirus-era campaign.
The Vaqueros took the opening kickoff and marched 70 yards in 14 plays, capped by a 2-yard scoring run by Anthony Leal. Angel Diaz’ PAT gave Rancho a 7-0 lead at 4:48 of the first quarter.
Anaheim struck back with a 78-yard eight-play drive of its own, punctuated by a 1-yard dash by Paul Rodriguez at 9:56 of the second quarter. However, the extra point was blocked and Rancho retained the lead at 7-6.
The teams exchanged scores and swapped leads and with five and a half minutes in the third quarter, Anaheim scored on a 15-play, 67-yard drive, capped by another Rodriguez score from the 2-yard line for a 21-15 Anaheim lead.
After an exchange of punts, Rancho had the ball on its own 37 with 47 seconds left in the quarter. Leal rushed for seven yards, and then tore off on a 57-yard scoring run, breaking tackles and out-running the pursuit.
That tied the game at 21-all and the point-after gave the Vaqs a 22-21 edge. But the drama was not over.
Another punt swap in the fourth quarter gave the Colonists the ball on the Rancho 42 with 7:20 to play and Anaheim managed to advance the ball to the 31. A sack and an incompletion set up a third-and-16 situation from the Rancho 36.
Burgara found a man open deep in Rancho territory and winged an accurate strike. But the receiver – who shall remain nameless – dropped the ball, to the anguish of his teammates and the relief of the Vaqs.
On fourth down the Colonists tried again, but the pass rush forced the Anaheim QB to scramble. He managed to get back to the line of scrimmage, but that was far short of a first down and the Vaqueros took over with 5:15 left to play.
From there, neither team could move the ball consistently and it ended up as a win for the home team.
Rancho will next be in action on Friday, Sept 10 hosting Troy High (2-0) of Fullerton. Anaheim (0-2) will visit Westminster (1-0) on Thursday, Sept. 9.
- Rancho Alamitos 22, Anaheim 21 (see above)
- Katella 48, Katella 7
- Elsinore 30, Marina 28
- Saddleback 30, La Quinta 27
- Yorba Linda 50, Marina 28
Categories: High school sports