Garden Grove running back Jim Sebreros, whose status was questionable going into Thursday night's game with Los Amigos, left little doubt about who is the best running back in the Garden Grove League.
Sebreros hadn't practiced all week because of a sore back. But the nifty runner who combines speed, balance and quickness led Garden Grove to a 21-7 victory over Los Amigos at Garden Grove High.
Sebreros gained 121 yards in 16 carries, but it was his 65-yard touchdown reception in the second play of the game that set the tone in a game that matched Garden Grove's quickness against Los Amigos' strength.
Sebreros ran a seam route off a basic trap play that caught Los Amigos' secondary napping as quarterback Brian Schneider lofted a perfect spiral to Sebreros at midfield. He then outraced two defenders to the end zone.
Los Amigos (4-2-2, 3-1-1 in league) never recovered after the play. The Lobos were forced to play catch-up the remainder of the game with an ineffective passing attack.
"We wanted a quick start and I think that play stunned them for most of the first half," Garden Grove Coach Jeff Buenafe said.
Garden Grove (6-2, 4-1) added a second touchdown in the first half after linebacker Mike Maddox intercepted Los Amigos quarterback Ape Tuato's pass at the Lobo 30-yard line and returned it seven yards.
Schneider scored on a two-yard keeper to push Garden Grove ahead, 14-0, and it was obvious that Los Amigos would need some time or a few breaks to get back into the game with a run-oriented offense.
Los Amigos scored its only touchdown with an impressive 73-yard drive just before halftime. The key play of the drive was a 39-yard pass from Tuato to Carlos Sianez. Junior Leofa scored the touchdown on a one-yard run to trim Garden Grove's lead to 14-7.
Garden Grove had some big defensive plays in the second half to hold off Los Amigos. Jeff Meyers sacked Tuato on the Lobos' first possession of the third quarter to force a punt; Joe Snavely sacked Tuato to force another punt on the first play of the fourth quarter, and Tom Hastings intercepted a Tuato pass to kill another drive later in the fourth quarter.
But despite the defensive heroics, the night belonged to Sebreros. Afterward, the league's most valuable player as a junior was asked who taught him how to run.
"The Lord," he said. "I guess you could say it's God-given talent."
Buenafe calls his prized back "a big package wrapped in a little package."
Los Amigos' Steve Bolton summed up Sebreros with one word: "phenomenal."