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Fontana Defeats Redlands Again

Prep football: Steelers' 21-12 victory is 19th in a row over their Citrus Belt League rival.

October 19, 1996|MARK STRODER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

It takes talent and ingenuity, among other things, to beat a league rival 19 years in a row.

Fontana High used a little of both Friday night to dispose of Redlands, 21-12, before an estimated 7,500 at the University of Redlands.

Fontana, 5-0-1 overall and 1-0 in the Citrus Belt League, now leads Redlands (4-2, 0-1) in the head-to-head series, 21-20-1.

The Steelers, who prefer to run the football, threw the ball 16 times, including seven passes in a critical touchdown drive to close out the first half.

That touchdown--a 22-yard pass from backup quarterback Ramon Villalvazo to Trevor Malensek with 1:16 remaining in the second quarter--gave Fontana a 21-6 cushion.

Why did the Steelers throw so much?

"We had [Ramon] at quarterback and he's a stronger thrower than the other guy," said Fontana Coach Dick Bruich after Villalvazo had filled in for starting quarterback P.J. Guerrero, who was suspended for one game after being ejected from a game last week.

Fontana's Art Gipson had 90 yards in 22 carries and Andre Perry had 76 yards in 16 carries, including touchdown runs of 13 and three yards in the first half.

The Steelers used Gipson and Perry effectively through the first 19 minutes when Bruich decided to change up with about five minutes remaining in the first half and the ball on their 29-yard line.

"We went into our two-minute offense," Bruich said. "That was the pivotal drive of the game. If we only lead by one [touchdown], their [running] backs can kill you, but being up by two [touchdowns] made a big difference."

The 15-point margin was important because Redlands, which did little offensively for most of the night, was able to get running back Winston Ellison (nine carries, 93 yards) free on the outside for a 73-yard scoring run with 7:10 remaining in the game, cutting the margin to 21-12. The Terriers failed on a two-point conversion.

Bruich had no explanation for his team's dominance over Redlands.

"I can't explain the success we've had against [Redlands]," Bruich said. "We treat this game as any other important league game. We don't do anything different."

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