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Savanna's Strategy Works Well Against Anaheim


ANAHEIM — The idea was to be more physical than Anaheim and control Reuben Droughns.

It's a great idea.

Savanna settled for getting some breaks and sending Droughns home frustrated and disappointed.

Savanna took advantage of two kick returns for touchdowns and scored a 27-24 victory over Anaheim Saturday at Western High.

With the victory, the Rebels (7-2, 3-1) still have a chance to win the Orange League title. As for Anaheim (5-3-1, 0-3-1), which began the year with five consecutive victories, its season will most likely end after next week's game against Magnolia (1-7, 0-4).

"The team that makes the least mistakes wins," Anaheim Coach Allen Carter said of his team's slide. "We've made our share, and they're not just small ones--they're noticeable."

Daven King took advantage of one of those breakdowns. His third touchdown came with 10 minutes 49 seconds left in the game, after he decided at the last moment not to fair catch a punt. He bobbled the ball, turning his back to the kicking team, gathered the ball in and then began an 82-yard journey that gave Savanna a 27-17 lead. It was Savanna's sixth touchdown return of the year.

"I had to juke them a couple of times," King said, "and then the lane opened up."

It ended with King getting into the end zone just ahead of Droughns, who also plays defensive back.

That kind of typified the game. Droughns rushed 34 times for 244 yards and three touchdowns, of one, 76 and two yards. A 49-yard run set up Tony Vasquez's 26-yard field goal.

"Leading the rushing (standings) is not important to me," Droughns said. "I'd like to win."

Instead, King got that pleasure. He also had a 29-yard run for a touchdown that gave Savanna a 13-10 lead, and a 29-yard touchdown reception that gave the Rebels a 20-17 lead with 2:40 left in the third quarter.

King finished with five carries for 54 yards and two receptions for 41.

But his heroics might have been for naught had Mike Flores not gotten Savanna going. Through the Rebels' first four possessions, they had no drive longer than four plays. Then Flores returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown and kicked the extra point to cut Anaheim's lead to 10-7.

"In a lot of areas, they outplayed us," Savanna Coach Fred Di Palma said. "Droughns is a great football player and we were hoping to contain him a little bit. Fortunately, we made some big plays."

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