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Huntington Beach Holds On to Defeat Downey, 21-14


HUNTINGTON BEACH — Coach Tony Ciarelli returned to his alma mater in style as Huntington Beach built an early lead and outlasted visiting Downey, 21-14, Friday in the season opener for both teams.

Ciarelli, a three-year starter (1969-71) for the Oilers, saw his team build a 13-0 halftime lead and stave off a Downey threat in the closing minutes.

Huntington Beach capitalized on its first possession after a Downey punt gave the Oilers the ball at midfield. Damon Van Hoorebeke had runs of 14 and 13 yards to set up a four-yard scoring plunge for a 7-0 lead. The junior tailback finished with 114 yards in 22 carries.

Vince Strang increased the lead to 13-0 in the second quarter, returning a Viking punt 46 yards for another touchdown.

Downey, which netted only 20 yards of offense and one first down in the first half, narrowed the gap to 13-7 midway through the third quarter. Rigo Pena connected with tight end Andre Adams on a three-yard scoring pass, set up by a 50-yard completion from Pena to Eric Saldana on the previous play.

In the fourth quarter, a 54-yard interception return by Kyle Mann put the Oilers on the Downey 22, but they stalled at the 5 and apparently settled for a 23-yard field goal. When Downey was penalized for roughing the kicker, Ciarelli elected to take the three points off the board, and three plays later, Shaun Shuck went in for the touchdown.

Pena found Raj Thompson down the right sideline for one score, then after an Oiler punt, connected with Adams for a 33-yard gain to the Oiler 36. That was as far as the Vikings advanced, though.

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