Art Michalik, Los Amigos High School football coach, proved to be a pregame prophet Saturday night, much to his dismay.
"La Quinta is about to jell, and those are the teams you have to worry about," Michalik said before the Garden Grove League game at Bolsa Grande High School. "They are like a volcano about to erupt."
It wasn't much of an eruption, but La Quinta scored 17 points in the second quarter and hung on to win, 17-13, in front of 1,800 spectators.
The Aztecs (2-5 overall, 2-2 in league play) almost let a 17-0 halftime advantage slip away with their own mistakes. Los Amigos scored 13 points in the second half and had one last opportunity to win late in the fourth quarter.
Chris Guibord recovered a Jeff Anderson fumble to give the Lobos (3-4, 2-2) possession at the La Quinta 38-yard line with 2 minutes 31 seconds remaining in the game. They got as far as the 24 before the Aztecs stiffened.
On third down, quarterback Andy Baturevich was chased down by Jeff Reynolds, who stripped the ball free. Kurt Fortlage recovered the fumble with 1:17 left and La Quinta ran out the clock.
The Aztecs were in control of the game at halftime, mainly because of running back Tom Cherms, who finished with 205 all-purpose yards. He rushed for 125 yards in 28 carries and caught 10 passes for 83 yards.
Cherms gave La Quinta a 7-0 lead with 8:19 left in the second quarter with a one-yard touchdown run that capped an 11-play, 70-yard drive. He caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Anderson with 4:58 left in the half for a 14-0 lead.
A 28-yard punt by Baturevich led to a 38-yard field goal by Brian Giuliano with four seconds left in the half.
Los Amigos cut the deficit to 17-7 with 50 seconds left in the third quarter, when Baturevich threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Greeney.
Greeney picked up a fumble by Cherms in the fourth quarter and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown. However the two-point conversion failed and La Quinta led, 17-13.