(SGVN/Staff Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz)
By Steve Ramirez
MONTEBELLO – It wasn’t pretty, but Alhambra coach Lou Torres isn’t about to give it back.
Not when his Moors are in first place and undefeated in the Almont League.
Sebastian Espinosa returned a blocked field goal 65 yards for a touchdown and visiting Alhambra held Schurr to 82 yards to lead the Moors to an 18-8 victory Thursday over the Spartans in an Almont League game.
Alhambra, also getting a 1-yard touchdown run from quarterback Joshua Mendoza, improved to 6-1 and 2-0 in league. Schurr, which got a 1-yard touchdown run from Bradley Powell, slipped to 1-6 and 1-1.
“We knew it would be a defensive game,” Torres said. “We were like heavyweights. We just kept punching.”
The first half was a survival of the fittest, and the visiting Moors took advantage of the lone break – a blocked field goal that Espinosa turned into a 65-yard return.
It was a strange turn of events after Schurr looked like it might gain the early advantage when David Pena intercepted a Mendoza pass and returned it 22 yards to the Alhambra 13-yard line.
But an incomplete pass, a false-start penalty and an 8-yard sack forced a 41-yard field goal try by Miguel Mendez.
But Espinosa, along with two teammates, crashed through the line to block the attempt, with Espinoza picking up the ball at the 35 and scoring for a 7-0 lead at 9:45.
The rest of the half was reserved for the defense.
Alhambra’s vaunted Wing-T attack yielded just 64 yards, although the Moors had two drives on Schurr’s side of the field. The Spartans were held to 25 yards.
Luis Herrera had a 38-yard punt return, which nearly got the Moors a 10-point lead. His run set up Alhambra at the Schurr 35 with 30 seconds left.
Mendoza followed with a 9-yard run to the 26 with four seconds left.
But Jonathan Bird’s 41-yard field goal with no time left bounced off the left upright.
Mendoza, following an interception, pushed it to 15-0 with a 1-yard run at 6:50 of the third quarter. Luis Herrera passed to Frank Essien on the conversion.
Bird kicked a 36-yard field for an 18-0 lead with two seconds left in the quarter.
Schurr got back into it late. Rudy Madrid threw 34 yards to Ricardo Fonseca to the Alhambra’s 1-yard line before Powell ran it in to make it 18-8 with just over three minutes to play. Madrid passed to Able Troncoza on the conversion.
“I’m really proud of the defense,” Schurr coach Ben Negrete said.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the offense going.”