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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS : CITY SECTION 3-A DIVISION : Reseda Picture Perfect After Producing Win

December 09, 1995|MIKE BRESNAHAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

VAN NUYS — Call the movie producers. Get a casting director.

After overcoming a week that was fit for the big screen, the Reseda High football team overcame Eagle Rock, 10-7, in the City Section 3-A Division final Friday night at Birmingham High.

Though the game itself will not be nominated for any Academy Awards, the Regents, frankly, don't care.

Thanks to a tough defense and an opportune offense, they captured their first City title since winning a 2-A championship in 1986.

"This is a week we'll never forget," Reseda Coach Joel Schaeffer said.

Indeed, the Regents have had an up-and-down time since handling Monroe in last Friday's semifinals.

On Monday, they appeared as guests on a TV show, and on Tuesday, they started to disappear.

Ten players were struck by flu, curbing practice efforts all week.

"I felt like a doctor," Schaeffer said.

But the Regents (11-3) survived, although they didn't show many signs of life in the first half, gaining only 86 yards.

Eagle Rock (11-3) didn't do much better, gaining only 90 yards in a scoreless first half.

But in the third quarter, John Fontamillas fumbled a punt and Reseda turned it into a 35-yard field goal by Tom Gutierrez.

The Eagles also hurt themselves early in the fourth quarter when quarterback Red Navarrette fumbled the center snap at midfield.

Seven plays later, Bobby Carrara hauled in Jamaal Washington's 11-yard pass to put Reseda up, 10-0, with 5 minutes 23 seconds left.

The reception was all-the-more impressive considering that Eagle Rock defensive back Steve Albarran deflected it.

"I focused only on the ball," said Carrara, who scored his ninth touchdown this season.

The Regents momentarily lost focus when they allowed Eagle Rock to score on its next possession, a 48-yard pass play from Navarrette to Fontamillas with 4:17 left.

But the Regents milked the clock with their ground game.

They also converted a pair of crucial third downs: Armone Lochard scooted around right end for seven yards for one of them, and the Eagles were drawn offside for the other.

Reseda's timing this season was impeccable: The Regents won their first 3-A title during the school's 40th year.

"It feels good," said Washington, who completed four of six passes for 55 yards and one touchdown. "Hell of an anniversary present."

Perhaps the Regents' best gift was their defensive effort: They allowed only two yards rushing and 140 passing.

"It was our destiny," said lineman Ennis Davis, who missed two days of practice because of flu. "This was nothing but hard work."

Lochard, who couldn't avoid the flu bug this week, finished with 69 yards in 22 carries to bring his season total to 1,509.

"We played good, conservative three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust football," Schaeffer said. "It was exciting to the end like a championship game should be.

"It was almost like a movie."

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