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Leuzinger, on Three Short Punts, Goes Leg Up on Agoura, 22-13

November 30, 1985|JERRY CROWE | Times Staff Writer

The coin toss is usually one of the most mundane events in football.

An official flips a coin, a captain of one of the teams calls heads or tails and, depending on the result, either chooses to receive the kickoff or gives up that right to his opponent.

But the toss at Leuzinger High in Lawndale on Friday night was more significant than most.

On a cold and blustery night, both teams decided before the game that it would be more advantageous to have the wind at their back than the ball in their hands in the first quarter.

And so when Leuzinger won the toss, it figured it had a leg up on Agoura.

That turned out to be correct as the Olympians, taking advantage of three short punts into the wind by Agoura's John Gillette, scored the first three times they had the ball en route to a 22-13 victory in the quarterfinals of the Southern Section Desert-Mountain Conference playoffs.

"We figured that the team that received the ball would be in the hole," said Leuzinger Coach Steve Carnes. "I'm just thankful it worked."

It worked even better than Carnes could have reasonably expected because the Olympian defense stuffed the Agoura offense.

Agoura's first three possessions netted 19 total yards and no first downs, forcing Gillette to test his right leg against a strong wind.

It was no contest.

Gillette's kicks netted 14, 19 and 14 yards, enabling Leuzinger (10-1-1) to start its first three possessions at Agoura's 41, 44 and 39.

The Pioneer League co-champions scored all three times, driving 30 yards in 10 plays for a 28-yard field goal by Julian Catano, 44 yards in 4 plays for a 22-yard touchdown pass from Mike Reddington to Sean Smith and 39 yards in 9 plays for a one-yard touchdown run by Reddington.

That made it 16-0 with 8:56 left in the half.

Leuzinger had all the points it needed.

"You can't punt into that wind," said Agoura Coach Frank Greminger. "It was a smart move on their part. We were going to do the same thing."

Agoura came to life offensively at that point, if only briefly. The Chargers (8-4) drove 60 yards to a touchdown on seven plays, the key gain a 33-yard run by David Stuart. Brock Hoffman, who accounted for the final 20 yards on five carries, dove into the end zone for the touchdown from two yards out.

But an ill-advised pass by Agoura quarterback Jon DeGennaro set up another Leuzinger score less than two minutes before halftime.

DeGennaro, wrapped up in the arms of Leuzinger's Brandy Harris, slammed a pass off Hoffman. The ball bounced into the air and into the arms of Leuzinger's Mike Ika.

Two plays later, Reddington found Harris in the corner of the end zone behind Agoura defenders Doug Johns and Doyle Ott and connected for his 22nd touchdown pass of the season.

The 14-yard play gave the Olympians a 22-7 halftime lead and left Agoura, the defending conference champion, in a hole it couldn't escape.

The teams wound up with almost identical statistics--Agoura finished with 197 total yards to Leuzinger's 196--but they were playing different games in the second half.

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