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Santiago Draws First Blood; La Mirada Gets the Kill

November 23, 1996|TODD CRALLEY

La Mirada defeated Santiago, 28-6, in the first round of the Southern Section Division VIII playoffs Friday night at La Mirada Stadium.

Santiago (6-5), the second-place team from the Garden Grove League, scored first when Victor Martinez capped an 80-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown. However, that was all the Cavaliers could do against La Mirada ((9-2), which advances to play West Covina South Hills in the second round.

Defensive end Mike Clark and defensive back Steve Dorneman, both juniors, seemed to be in Santiago quarterback Ben Tran's face most of the night. Clark had two sacks, each for 15 yards, and four tackles.

La Mirada quarterback Bobby Herndon passed for 160 yards, completing 12 of 15 passes, including touchdowns to wide receiver Tim Lemon and tight end Scott Rudiger.

The Matadors also utilized an effective running game as Jeff Nicolini rushed for 136 yards in 11 carries and Steve Coumparoules gained 108 yards in 15 carries.

Santiago Coach Ben Haley criticized the play calling of La Mirada Coach John Mele, who allowed Herndon to throw the ball late in the game.

"Our kids showed lot of pride, poise and character,"' Haley said. "A lot more than their [La Mirada's] coaching staff. [Mele] showed me no class. I think that it sends a poor message to what high school football is all about when you're leading, 28-6, late in the game and continue to throw the ball."

Said Mele when told of Haley's comments: "I don't understand what he's talking about. 28-6 is no slaughter; 28-6 is still a game. I really don't understand. A couple big plays by them and they would have been right back in it."

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