FULLERTON — Dreams can die quietly. Or they can be shattered by reality.
Fullerton's dream of getting to a section title game for the first time in 11 years met reality Friday. The Indians tried to stop the unbeaten and top-seeded Covina Colts, who ran away with a 34-0 Southern Section Division VII victory in front of an estimated 7,500 at Fullerton High.
Covina (13-0) will meet the winner of tonight's Los Amigos-Lompoc game. Freeway League champion Fullerton ended its season 11-2.
There was no need to shed tears or wonder what might have been. The Colts were superior in all facets of the game.
Quarterback Michel Ulrich passed for 170 yards and three touchdowns. Two went to receiver Nin Burns, the second a 54-yard completion near the end of the third quarter for the only points in the second half. Burns caught four passes for 119 yards.
Running back Shaun Malcom rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown in 16 carries.
"I thought our kids played well," Covina Coach Dick Sheehan said. "That first touchdown drive we got was good, and then we took advantage of a couple of their mistakes. Fullerton, I thought, defensed us very well in the second half."
Covina's defense gave up 91 yards to Fullerton running back John Wilkie, but little else in posting their second consecutive shutout.
"I think they will win the championship," Fullerton end Tyler Brickell said. "If you must lose, then lose to the best team. And we lost to the best team."
"They overwhelmed us. The better team definitely won tonight."
When asked if he would have done anything differently, Fullerton Coach Julian Smilowitz shook his head.
"They are a very good football team," he said. "They took advantage of every mistake we made--and we made too many."
The Indians had a clear indication of the kind of game it would be by the end of the first half. By then, Covina had scored 27 points--more than Fullerton had given up in any game this season.
A fumble on their opening drive was the Colts' only mistake, as they scored on their next four possessions.
Ulrich began Fullerton's miseries with one-yard sneak, culminating a 10-play drive that covered 80 yards.
The next touchdown was a gimme. After Gabriel Almanza was intercepted by Burns at the Fullerton 25, the senior scampered 22 yards to set up Malcom's three-yard touchdown run.
Covina did not let up in the second quarter. Ulrich, who threw for 115 yards in the half, delivered an 11-yard scoring toss to Robert Jarvis.
The Indians followed with their second crucial mistake. With less than three minutes remaining in the half, Fullerton tried a flea flicker, with receiver Michael Garner faking an end around run and trying to pass from his 23. But Covina defender Eric Davis was not fooled, leaped in front of Indians receiver Jayson Garcia for the interception at the 33, and returned in 27 yards.
It looked for a moment as if Fullerton might escape further damage when the Colts were penalized for clipping, and the ball was spotted back at the Indians' 28. But Ulrich passed to Burns at the 11, who broke one tackle, faked out another defender and scored with 55 seconds remaining.