Senior tailback Mike Finley rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown to lead Esperanza High School to a 14-8 victory over Katella Thursday in an Empire League football game at Valencia High School in front of 300.
Esperanza, which outweighed Katella by an average of 40 pounds per player on both lines, dominated the game played on the muddy Bradford Stadium field during intermittent rain.
Esperanza (4-2-1 overall, 1-0-1 in league play) gained 204 yards rushing, and Katella (4-2-1, 0-1-1) was limited to 2 net yards on the ground and 66 overall. Esperanza had 242 yards in total offense.
Because of the conditions and Esperanza's size advantage, Katella wasn't able to use its veer offense much. Katella used it for one play in the second half and it resulted in a fumble.
Katella was forced to try to run right at Esperanza, but that didn't work well. Neither did Katella's passing game, mainly because quarterback Jeff Yourstone had a sore thumb on his passing hand. He completed 3 of 9 passes for 64 yards and threw an interception.
"The veer option is not your ideal offense for these conditions," Larry Anderson, Katella coach, said. "And when we tried to pass, we had trouble there, also."
Esperanza took a 8-0 lead in the first quarter when Finley scored on a 1-yard dive with 5:13 left and Jason Moler picked up a bad snap on the conversion attempt and ran it in for two points.
Katella tied the score when Jeremy Sherman picked up fumble by Moler and raced 58 yards for the score three minutes later.
Katella tied the score on a pass from Ron Axworthy to Sherman.
Katella recovered five of Esperanza's eight fumbles.
"We stopped ourselves most of the time," Esperanza Coach Gary Meek said. "But our defense really came through, too. They shut down Katella really well."
Esperanza took the lead, 11-8, on a 26-yard field goal by Kevin Leon with 2:36 left in the half.
Leon added a 22-yard field goal in the third quarter as the Esperanza line and Finley started to really assert themselves.
Finley carried the ball 12 times for 76 yards in the third quarter and 20 times for 92 yards in the second half. He had 27 carries in the game.