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ORANGE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PREP EXTRA | EMPIRE
LEAGUE

Blocked Punt Puts Katella Into Playoffs

November 14, 1998|EVAN LOVETT | TIMES STAFF WRITER

When linebacker Victor Espinoza blocked a punt in the fourth quarter and recovered it in the end zone, Katella earned a playoff berth and a second-place finish in the Empire League with a 13-6 victory over Kennedy Friday at Western High.

The Knights (7-2-1, 3-1-1) also got 171 yards in 28 carries from Francis Johnson to help gain their second consecutive playoff appearance.

"We came out and did it," Johnson said, "Our offense was OK, but our defense kept us in the game."

The Knights' defense suffocated Kennedy's offense, allowing only 188 total yards and forcing seven punts. Kennedy (6-4, 2-3) entered Katella territory only once in the first half.

"Our defense came up huge," Katella Coach Dominik Unger said, "We accomplished a lot. It feels good."

The first half was slow offensively for both teams, with Juan Martinez's two field goals for Katella accounting for the only points.

The Fighting Irish tied the score early in the third quarter on a three-yard touchdown run by Cedeno Wyatt. Espinoza blocked the ensuing extra point attempt, and the score remained tied 6-6.

The next five possessions resulted in punts for both teams, but Espinoza ended the monotony with his block and recovery with less than four minutes remaining in the game.

Espinoza was the main factor for Katella's defense, getting two sacks in addition to the two blocks.

In another Empire League game:

Loara 30, Century 14--Joel Mijares and Ramiro Carasa scored second- and third-quarter touchdowns for Century (2-8, 1-4) at Glover Stadium.

Mijares scored on a 14-yard pass from Gil Godinez, and Carasa added a touchdown on a one-yard run two plays after he and Joel Valdez hooked up on a 50-yard pass play.

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