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November 19, 1994|GEOFF BILAU

RIVERSIDE — Gabe Rivas scored three touchdowns and ran for 96 yards in the second half as Riverside Norte Vista eliminated Costa Mesa from the Division VIII playoffs with a 28-12 victory Friday at Riverside College.

Rivas, who normally plays only safety, went in on offense to begin the second half, with the Braves (7-4) trailing Costa Mesa, 6-0. Rivas carried on the Braves' first four plays of the second half, gaining 18 yards and setting up Matt Magallanez's 47-yard touchdown pass to Ron Butler, the first completion of the game for either team. Norte Vista took the lead, 7-6.

Two possessions later Rivas broke loose for a 25-yard gain to the Costa Mesa three-yard line and bulled his way through the middle on the following play for a three-yard touchdown.

Costa Mesa's star running back Charles Chatman, who gained 191 yards in 16 carries, tried to get Costa Mesa (7-3-1) back into the game early in the fourth quarter.

Chatman scored from five yards out with 11 minutes 36 seconds remaining to trail by a point.

Costa Mesa attempted a two-point conversion, but Chatman could not turn the corner before being pushed out of bounds.

The play seemed to give the momentum to Norte Vista, which scored 15 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.

Rivas said he told his coach he wanted to go in as a running back during halftime.

"Coach asked us in the locker room, who's going to step it up. I told him I can do the job," Rivas said.

Costa Mesa's first score came in the second quarter when Chatman broke through the line and ran for an 87 yard touchdown. Costa Mesa quarterback Ryan Taylor completed five of 11 passes for 58 yards.

"Norte Vista was hitting a lot harder and making tackles a lot more than we were," Costa Mesa Coach Myron Miller said.

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