There were some thrilling games tonight. Here are the recaps.
El Rancho 29, Montebello 9
Montebello – Bogged down by penalties and a pesky opponent, it took El Rancho High School three quarters to get going.
However, the Dons (3-1), the Daily News’ No. 5-ranked team, scored 14 fourth-quarter points to pull away from old Whitmont League rival Montebello 29-9 in Friday’s nonleague action at Heaman Field.
The Dons led 15-9 with 46 seconds remaining in the third following a 31-yard field goal from Montebello’s Eric Guevara.
That’s when the Dons took the life out of the Oilers with a methodical and demoralizing 18-play, 82-yard drive that spanned 8:13 and concluded with a 2-yard run from Andrew Romero (8 carries for 46 yards).
The touchdown put the Oilers up 22-9 with 4:33 remaining.
Montebello (0-4) took over possession but turned the ball over on downs at its 31.
El Rancho then iced the game when senior Art Franco scored on a 3-yard run with 1:10 left.
Both teams traded field goals in the third with El Rancho’s Allen Infante kicking a 27-yarder.
El Rancho survived despite 13 penalties for 105 yards.
The Dons took control in the first half with 5:58 left in the second quarter.
Senior quarterback Troy Campos (4 for 10 for 43 yards) scored on a 1-yard keeper set up by a 46-yard kick return from Daniel Moriel that came after a safety trimmed Montebello’s lead to 6-5.
Infante kicked off the Dons’ scoring with a 33-yard field goal at 6:33 in the first quarter.
El Rancho drove to the Montebello 15 but was turned away when a swing pass from Campos to Moriel resulted in the loss of a yard thanks to a tackle from Montebello junior Daniel Galvez.
Montebello countered the El Rancho score with a touchdown on its first possession.
The Oilers drove 74 yards and scored when quarterback Fernando Hoffens (9 for 16 for 103 yards) hit junior receiver George Romo with a 20-yard pass with 1:51 left in the first quarter.
El Rancho’s Jerry Huff blocked Montebello’s extra-point attempt to keep the score at 6-3.
Both teams traded first-half turnovers as well.
El Rancho’s Freddy Garcia intercepted Hoffens in the second quarter only to have the Oilers’ Jorge Gurrola recover a Dons’ fumble at the Montebello 8 on the very next drive.
Whittier Christian 38, St. Margaret’s 26
San Juan Capistrano – With a brilliant short passing attack, Whittier Christian High School remained unbeaten by defeating St. Margaret’s 38-26 in a nonleague game Friday night.
Stephen Anderson led the Heralds (4-0) by completing 30 of 39 passes for 274 yards and one touchdown. He also ran for three touchdowns.
After Whittier Christian faced a 14-0 first-quarter deficit, the Heralds rallied to take a 21-14 halftime lead at the half and never trailed the rest of the way.
Early in the second quarter, Anderson capped an 80-yard drive with a 46-yard touchdown run around left end.
The Tartans’ (2-2) next possession ended when Heralds defender Zach Cokely recovered a fumble at the St. Margaret’s 33-yard line to set up a 31-yard scoring run by Anderson that tied the score 14-14.
Late in the second quarter, Whittier Christian took a 21-14 lead when Anderson connected on a 4-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Stanley.
The first half ended when the Heralds’ Rudy Robles blocked a St. Margaret’s 50-yard field goal attempt.
The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter, with the Heralds completing a 96-yard drive on Grant Escobar’s 2-yard scoring run.
Whittier Christian concluded its scoring with Anderson’s 2-yard touchdown run and Stanley’s 35-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
St. Paul 24, L.A. Garfield 10
Santa Fe Springs – St. Paul High School’s strong rushing game and affirmative defensive presence led the host Swordsmen to a 24-10 nonleague victory over Garfield on Friday night.
Running back Michael Ortega, along with offensive linemen Rick Garcia, Sergio Lizarraga, Christian Garcia, Paul Governale and David Pilkington, powered the ground attack for the Swordsmen (2-1), who took a 17-0 halftime advantage over the winless Bulldogs (0-4).
Ortega finished with 131 rushing yards and one touchdown on 17 carries.
Overall, St. Paul rushed for 164 yards.
Senior defensive back Alex Sanchez led St. Paul’s defensive charge with three sacks and two tackles for losses.
Other defensive standouts included sophomore Albert Llamas and junior Marcus Garcia, who had two knockdowns each.
Garcia also got into the scoring act when he intercepted a pass from Garfield quarterback Omar Gonzalez and returned it 101 yards for a touchdown to give the Swordsmen a 24-3 lead with 9:24 left in the game.
Gabriel Gonzalez also scored a defensive touchdown for St. Paul when he ran back a Gonzalez interception 47 yards to give the Swordsmen their 17-0 lead with 6:38 to go in the first half.
St. Paul got on the scoreboard first with 9:41 remaining in the first quarter on an Ortega 29-yard touchdown run that capped a 47-yard drive.
The Swordsmen increased their lead to 10-0 on their next possession when Angel Gonzalez kicked a 32-yard field goal.
Schurr 29, El Toro 28
Mission Viejo – Gustavo Tlatebchi kicked a 29-yard field goal with 2:04 remaining in the fourth quarter Friday, giving Schurr High School a come-from-behind, 29-28 victory over El Toro in a nonleague game at Trabuco Hills High.
Schurr, which won its first game of the season after two losses, made it 28-26 on a pass from Andrew Cantu to Gabriel Escobar covering 48 yards with just under three minutes left. The Spartans failed on the two-point conversion.
Schurr then kicked off, El Toro fumbled and the Spartans’ Efrin Berrera recovered at the Chargers’ 15-yard line. The Spartans ran three plays and lost four yards before Tlatebchi kicked the winning field goal.
El Toro had one final possession, but it ended at its own 48-yard line as time ran out.
Schurr also got a second-half score from Chris Jordan on a 20-yard pass from Cantu with 5:20 remaining in the third quarter. The extra point was blocked by El Toro’s Jack Alvarez.
Escobar also scored on a 4-yard pass from Cantu at 8:11 of the fourth quarter.
Schurr scored its only first-half touchdown on a 19-yard scoring pass from Cantu to Alejandro Castro in the middle of the first quarter.
That touchdown gave the Spartans a 7-0 lead.
El Toro rallied to tie the score 7-7 in the second quarter on a 25-yard run by James Daum. The play climaxed a six-play, 47-yard drive.
El Toro then took a 14-7 lead on its next possession when Dominique Jackson scored on a 7-yard run. El Toro made it 21-7 late in the second quarter on another run.
L.A. Roosevelt 27, Whittier 14
Whittier – Whittier High School (0-3) remained winless on the season with a loss to the Rough Riders (3-1) in a nonleague game on Friday night at California High School.
The L. A. Roosevelt defense forced the Cardinals to start the game slowly.
Whittier quarterback Michael Viramontes went on to finish the game with just 6 completions in 14 attempts, but the Cardinals did display a quicker tempo offensively and considerable defensive improvement from their previous two losses this season.
Roosevelt wide receiver Ricardo Estrada turned out to be a threat on the ground when he scored on a 33-yard run in the third quarter.
That score was followed by another scoring run, this one of 4 yards by Roosevelt’s Jesse Lira to give the Rough Riders a comfortable lead.
Viramontes, however, helped the Cardinals respond with a 4-yard touchdown run to bring Whittier within a touchdown of the lead.
Lira sealed the outcome for the Rough Riders with a 4-yard run for a score.
Sunny Hills 30, Pioneer 28
Whittier – A spirited Pioneer High School comeback bid fell short in the final two minutes as Sunny Hills escaped with a 30-28 victory in a nonleague game Friday night at Pioneer High School.
After being down 30-7 at halftime, the Titans (1-2) roared back to within two points and were inside Sunny Hills’ 30-yard-line hoping to cap a remarkable second half rally.
But a stripped fumble and recovery by Sunny Hills (2-1) ended the Titans’ hopes with 1:14 remaining.
Junior running back Tony Botello did his part for Pioneer, rushing for 230 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries, with 145 of those yards coming in the second half.
His counterpart, Lancers senior running back Edison Sim, ran for 165 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries.
The Lancers scored their first touchdown of the game on Sim’s 1-yard run.
The Titans responded one minute later as Botello took a handoff and gained 43 yards, which set himself up for a 10-yard TD one play later. But from there, the Lancers scored 23 unanswered points to take the big lead into halftime.
Cantwell Sacred Heart 56, Bell Gardens 46
Bell Gardens – Cantwell Sacred Heart started slow but finished strong, defeating Bell Gardens 56-46 in a nonleague game Friday night.
The game started with Bell Gardens (1-2) dominating, both in the air and on the ground.
Cantwell (3-0) rallied, however, in the second quarter. With four touchdowns to Bell Gardens’ two in the period, Cantwell took a 35-32 lead into halftime after finishing the first quarter down 20-7.
Cardinals running back Jonathan Mesa had two touchdowns in the half, while quarterback Christian Espinoza scored from 34 yards out on a keeper.
Mesa’s 9-yard run with just more than a minute left in the half stole the lead from the Lancers.
In the second half, Mesa had a 10-yard run with 3:57 left in the third to make the score 49-32. Mesa then scored on a 6-yard run with 4:47 left in the fourth to make it 56-39.
Mesa finished with 205 yards rushing with four touchdowns. Espinoza threw for 106 yards and a touchdown but was more effective on the ground, gathering 122 yards, including runs of 34 and 43 yards, both for touchdowns.
After a kickoff return for 81 yards by the Lancers’ Chris Gutierrez, a fight broke out on the field that resulted in three Cantwell ejections — Cory Collins, Ernie Narbona and Francisco Gutierrez. One player from Bell Gardens got ejected.
La Habra 49, Downey 20
La Habra — Quarterback Cody Clements amassed 335 yards and four touchdowns on 14-of-21 passing to lead La Habra (2-2) to a 49-20 nonleague win over Downey on Friday night.
Clements did most of his damage in the first half, when he passed for all four of his touchdowns came then.
The first came on La Habra’s first possession, on a 61-yard pass to Mark Yackey with 7:56 to go in the first quarter to cap a six-play, 65- yard drive, making it 7-0.
Downey (2-1) tied it on a 2-yard run from Jabari Ruffin with 11:37 left in the second to finish a 97-yard drive highlighted by a 39-yard pass from Dallas Lopez to Robert Moss, and a 28-yard pass from Lopez to Ruffin that set up Ruffin’s touchdown.
La Habra seized control with three touchdowns in the second quarter. The first came on an 80-yard pass from Clements to Brett Bartolone with 10:34 left in the second to cap a three-play, 80-yard drive.
On La Habra’s next possession, it scored on a 47-yard pass from Clements to Yackey with 7:19 left to cap a four-play, 62-yard drive and on its following on next possession, it got a 23-yard scoring pass from Clements to Gabe Sahagian with 1:03 left to cap an eight-play, 97-yard drive.
La Habra also scored on its first possession of the third, on a 6-yard run by Ahmad Avery with 8:03 left to end a nine-play, 76-yard drive.
Two Highlander receivers went over 100 yards. Bartolone finished with five catches for 137 yards and a touchdown and Yackey had 3 catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Drake Griffin rushed for 71 yards and a score on seven carries and a score.
For Downey, Ruffin scored three rushing touchdowns
La Habra added two touchdowns in the fourth to seal the game, both on the ground. The first was Griffin’s 20-yard run with 9:20 left, and the second was a 19-yard run by Jake Atanay with 3:23 left.