YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


For Fullerton, It's Getting Better


Fullerton quarterback Johnathan Pate took only a second to decide which was better: clinching at least a tie for the Freeway League title with Friday's 24-0 victory over visiting Troy, or ending the Indians' two-game losing streak to their cross-town rivals.

"Winning league is always more important," said Pate, a senior, "but it is nice to end the streak because this was my last chance against them."

Before an estimated 3,500 spectators, Fullerton (5-4, 4-0 in league) not only won the game, but also dominated the bigger, stronger Warriors with speed and quickness. The league championship was the Indians' first since 1995. They can win it outright with a victory next Friday at Buena Park (2-7, 2-2).

Fullerton Coach Julian Smilowitz did not want to make any comparisons to his 1995 team, which finished 11-2. "This is the best team in 1998," he said.

Smilowitz still had to take satisfaction with the accomplishment of a team that finished 1-4 in nonleague play this season.

"They have gotten better every week," he said. "Tonight, they played their best game of the season."

Troy (5-4, 2-2), by contrast, probably played its worst game, or at least its worst first half, falling behind, 17-0. Warrior fullback Todd Frazier, who eventually rushed for 113 yards, fumbled three times, losing two. Quarterback Jordan Oliver looked every bit the sophomore he is, completing only one of six passes for 14 yards. He had two passes intercepted, one in each half.

The Warriors also did themselves in with penalties, six for 50 yards in the first half and eight for 75 for the game.

But Fullerton had a lot to do with Troy's troubles.

Pate, as usual, was Fullerton's catalyst, running for 54 yards and passing for 137. He threw two touchdown passes to tight end Justin Brown, the last one a three-yarder with 8 minutes 39 seconds left to play.

Fullerton running back Armando Lopez had 97 yards and a touchdown in 17 carries.

"We played our hearts out tonight," Pate said. "The line blocked great, Armando ran hard, and we had a good [offensive] scheme. I know a lot of people doubted us, but we came to play tonight."

Fullerton's first possession began on the Troy 43-yard line and the Indians needed only four plays to reach the end zone. Lopez scored on a 14-yard run through traffic.

Frazier's first fumble, recovered by Fullerton lineman Fabian Chavez on the Troy 38, was converted into a 47-yard field goal by Modesto Paz.

In other Freeway League games:

Buena Park 27, La Habra 15--Marquis Colvin ran through the La Habra defense for three touchdowns and 141 yards in just 13 carries for the Coyotes.

Colvin scored on runs of 65, 25 and six yards as Buena Park improved to 2-7, 2-2.

Rudy Padilla gave the Coyotes a big fourth-quarter lift when he fell on a fumble in the end zone to extend the lead to 20-15. La Habra dropped to 2-7, 1-3.

Sunny Hills 35, Sonora 14--Andrew Tindukasiri rushed for 130 yards in 20 carries and quarterback Jared Bruce scored on two one-yard runs to lead visiting Sunny Hills (5-4, 3-1).

With the score tied in the second quarter, Sunny Hills' Chris Wheaton took off for a 60-yard touchdown to give the Lancers a 14-7 lead. Bruce scored the first of his touchdowns on Sunny Hills' next possession, increasing the lead to 21-7.

William Iverson ran in from one yard out to cut the Lancers' advantage to 21-14 at halftime, but Sonora (2-7, 0-4) was held scoreless the rest of the way.

Los Angeles Times Articles