Some friendly advice to anyone attempting a logical evaluation of Sunny Hills High School's 16-14 victory over Saddleback Friday in the quarterfinals of the Central Conference playoffs in Santa Ana Stadium.
Hey, Einstein, give the brain a rest. Swap your charts, playbooks, and rationale for a kazoo and fake rubber nose. You could study the trends and tendencies of this one until you were blue in the clip board and you'd still come away with nothing.
So give up and attribute this one to a higher power, that little intangible known as weirdness.
Now the fact that these teams came into the game with combined records of 20-2 and proceeded to commit eight turnovers, that's not weird. This is a playoff game, and one that a lot of people thought would have made a nifty championship matchup. Nerves are expected in game such as this and so are turnovers.
What's weird is that of the four touchdowns scored in the game, only one was scored by either teams' offense. The plot thickens when you consider that it wasn't Sunny Hills' offense that scored the touchdown.
Then there were the game plans. Weird.
Saddleback got to this game by running right over teams. Yet the Roadrunners threw 24 passes.
The Sunny Hills offense depends upon the right arm of quarterback David Chisum. So what do the Lancers do but throw five times.
The strangeness started with 10:11 left in the first quarter. Saddleback punter Victor Rossano had his punt blocked by Tim Imperiali, the ball rolled into the end zone where it was recovered by Stewart Richardson for a touchdown. The extra point was missed and Sunny Hills led, 6-0.
Sunny Hills got a 26-yard field goal from Carlos Miramontes four minutes later for a 9-0 lead.
Saddleback got the ball back on its 20, and after two plays netted a minus one-yard, quarterback Sean Therien dropped back to pass. Richardson came after him and caught him by the back of the jersey at the Saddleback 10-yard line. Therien tried to throw the ball away, but as he was twirled backward by Richardson his pass became a lateral that skidded into the end zone.
This fact wasn't clear to everyone on the field. Most thought the throw was an incomplete pass, a couple players on each team started back for their respective huddles. But something was missing. The referees whistle.
It was then that Sunny Hills' Rick DeFazio sprinted and landed on the ball for a touchdown. Miramontes' extra point was good and the Lancers led, 16-0.
Saddleback came back to score on 21-yard run by running back Nate Primous, who rushed for 103 yards in 17 carries. The two-point conversion pass from Therien to Hector Santa Cruz made the score 16-8 at the half.
It remained that way until Saddleback's Antwon Lark blocked a Miramontes field-goal attempt midway through the fourth quarter and Danny Ontiveros recovered the ball and ran it back 85 yards.