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Fountain Valley Comes Up Ahead


HUNTINGTON BEACH — Fountain Valley scored a victory for the "old" Sunset League Friday when the Barons upset third-ranked Esperanza, 29-22, behind the play of Andrew Medley.

By winning, Fountain Valley (7-3, 4-1) created a three-way tie for the league title with Esperanza (8-2, 4-1) and Los Alamitos (9-1, 4-1).

Fountain Valley also won the postgame coin flip and got the league's top seeding in the Southern Section Division I playoffs. Esperanza is No. 2 and Los Alamitos No. 3.

The league title is the first for a team that was in the league before Los Alamitos and Esperanza joined in 1994. Los Alamitos won that year and Esperanza won last year. Fountain Valley's last league title was in 1988.

"Our kids had a big challenge this week," Fountain Valley Coach George Berg said. "I just have so much respect for our senior class."

Medley, a senior running back and linebacker, scored the winning touchdown with 55 seconds left in the third quarter. Fountain Valley had a third-and-goal from the Esperanza 18 and Medley caught a screen pass from quarterback Mike Lamar in the right flat.

He then sprinted directly for the end zone, breaking two tackles near the goal line.

"I was thinking field goal," Berg said, "But [assistant] coach [Hank] Cochrane came up with a screen. It was a great call."

The play was controversial from the Esperanza point of view. Just before the touchdown, the referee forced Esperanza to remove linebacker Tony Colacion, who apparently was nauseous.

After the touchdown, the Esperanza sideline was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty for continuing to protest the decision. To help ease the situation, the referee had the sideline officials switch.

Esperanza led 16-14 at the half and upped it to 22-14 when Marcus Mullins took the second-half kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown. But Fountain Valley needed only four plays to come back. The key gain was a 70-yarder by Medley, who started off left tackle then sprinted into the secondary before being stopped at the Esperanza five. After a one-yard loss, Medley went six yards for a touchdown.

The score was tied, 22-22, after Lamar threw to Aaron Carter for the two-point conversion.

Medley finished with 165 yards in 15 carries. He also had a sack and assisted defensive lineman Alfred Giles on a key sack late in the game.

"Whatever the team needed," Medley said. "I wanted to be there. But it was mostly senior leadership."

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