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Oak Park Takes Control of Nordhoff With Allen and Defense

October 01, 1994|DANA HADDAD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

AGOURA — Nordhoff High running back Josh Hawkins was one of the most-feared rushers in the area. Oak Park running back Ryan Johnson in three games had established himself as the new kid on the block.

Would Johnson upstage Hawkins in Friday's game at Oak Park? Or would the Hawk show the Eagles how to fly?

Neither. Oak Park's 17-10 nonleague victory was all about defense and quarterbacks.

Hawkins, who finished with 130 yards in 26 carries, was held to 30 yards in 11 carries in the second half. Johnson, who had both Eagle touchdowns and 112 yards in 16 carries, wasn't as important to Oak Park (4-0) on this night as quarterback Ron Allen.

Allen completed only seven of 15 passes for 77 yards, but most completions resulted in first downs in key situations. He rushed six times for 63 yards--including bursts of 20 and 26 yards on option plays--and kept Nordhoff (3-1) from keying on Johnson. He accounted for 140 of Oak Park's 282 yards.

"It didn't seem like they were worried about me," Allen said. "On the option, they were keying on Johnson. Let everybody key on him."

With Hawkins getting stuffed at the line, Nordhoff quarterback Mike Gardia tried to rally his team from a 17-7 deficit in the fourth quarter. He completed five of his final six passes, but couldn't put his team into the end zone. Brian Farrar kicked a 28-yard field goal with 1:17 left, after he was short on a 25-yard attempt in the quarter.

Gardia, who completed eight of 18 passes for 111 yards with one interception, missed on his first six passes. Many were overthrown or underthrown to open receivers. He also rushed three times for minus-38 yards. A bad snap from center cost him 26 yards on third down.

"I was just making my reads wrong," Gardia said. "I had good time, but I was rushing myself and I wasn't hitting it. I'm just glad my coaches kept their confidence in me."

Johnson scored the first touchdown on a 21-yard run over left tackle in the first quarter.

Nordhoff retaliated with Hawkins. He rushed on eight of 10 plays, gaining 50 of 65 yards on the Rangers' next possession and tied the score with a two-yard run.

A 34-yard field goal by Josh Nicassio gave the Eagles a 10-7 lead at halftime. They scored again in the third quarter on a two-yard run by Johnson.

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