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La Quinta's Improbable Roll Culminates in Playoff Berth

November 14, 1998|MIKE BESACK

After finishing 0-10 last season, La Quinta capped its incredible turnaround Friday night with a 44-0 victory over Garden Grove that clinched the Aztecs' first playoff berth since 1990.

La Quinta Coach Jeff Veeder stood misty-eyed with his team, which chanted his name after the game. The Aztecs finished tied for third with Santiago in the Garden Grove League but will get the league's third playoff berth by virtue of an 8-7 victory over the Cavaliers.

"It was a season of adventure," Veeder said. "We didn't really match up with anybody we played. Nobody expected this."

The Aztecs (8-2, 4-2) got a first-quarter boost from 357-pound defensive lineman Faamausili Missiona, who lined up at fullback and rumbled 83 yards to set up the first score of the game. Missiona also threw a pass to Huy Huyhn that went for a 48-yard touchdown on a fake punt play in the second quarter.

With a 13-0 lead in the second quarter, La Quinta quarterback Thi Huyhn hit Anthony Garcia on a slant for a 25-yard gain. Three plays later, Huyhn sneaked the ball in from one yard to make it 20-0.

Aztec running back Hai Duyen Nguyen carried 15 times for 156 yards and scored two touchdowns.

Matt Crippen completed six of 15 passes for 69 yards for Garden Grove (3-7, 1-5).

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