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ORANGE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PREP EXTRA | SOUTHERN
SECTION DIVISION IX PLAYOFFS

Santiago Loses to Northview

November 21, 1998|MIKE BESACK | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Santiago Coach Ben Haley was quick to show his disappointment after Friday night's 27-18 opening-round Southern Section Division IX playoff loss to Covina Northview.

"This was the second time in three years [in the playoffs] we haven't played up to our capabilities," Haley said. "I'm going to have to take some time off during Christmas and decide whether or not I'm capable of leading this team. Right now, we're not a championship-caliber team. This is disheartening."

His Cavaliers (8-3) finished the regular season as an at-large team from the Garden Grove League. But in making the playoffs for only the second time in 11 years, Santiago's fate was similar to the loss it suffered to La Mirada in its last appearance two years ago.

Santiago's running game failed to take hold. James Thomas, who finished second in the county with 1,704 regular-season rushing yards, had only 65 yards.

Northview (8-2-1) was up, 20-11, just before the half, when Haley gambled on fourth and nine from midfield with 1:51 seconds left. Instead of punting, Kalolo Leauasoga took the short snap but barely got back to the line of scrimmage. Three plays later, Northview quarterback Greg Washington threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Rah'man Wallace to close out the half.

Santiago got a third-quarter boost from Brandon Perry, who returned a punt 69 yards to make the score 20-18. Perry struck again on the next series, returning another kick for 45 yards to the Northview 10, but a pass by Brian Pilkington was intercepted in the end zone two plays later.

Northview will play top-seeded La Mirada, which defeated Buena Park, 41-13, Friday, in the second round.

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