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Pacifica Stays Unbeaten in League

Garden Grove: Mariners use five turnovers, including three interceptions, to beat Los Amigos, 43-19.

October 23, 1998|MIKE TERRY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Two years ago few paid attention to Pacifica until it reached the Division VIII final against Aliso Niguel.

The Mariners will find anonymity harder to come by this time, now that they are the lone unbeaten team in Garden Grove League play after beating Los Amigos, 43-19, at Bolsa Grande High.

Pacifica (5-2, 3-0) forced Los Amigos into five turnovers, including three interceptions of quarterback Ao Sualua. Los Amigos (4-3, 3-1) was never any closer than 13 points after the first quarter.

"We never gave ourselves a chance," Los Amigos Coach Roger Takahashi said. "But also give them credit, they played a very physical game."

Pacifica Coach Bill Craven is still worried because his team has Santiago and Rancho Alamitos left to play. Still, Craven noted: "this is big win if, for no other reason, we're the only team left in league without a loss."

From Pacifica's perspective, the mission was a simple one. "Keep No. 43 under 150 yards," said Craven, referring to Lobo tailback Andrew Niumata, "and not give up big plays."

The Mariners came close. Niumata had 226 yards and three touchdowns in 24 carries. While the county's leading rusher did get his yards, he only had eight runs longer than 10 yards and lost two fumbles.

Also hurting Los Amigos was Sualua, who completed only one pass in 10 attempts for nine yards.

Pacific's Brent Kirkland and Matt Reiss had a much better night throwing. Kirkland passed for 129 yards and two touchdowns, and Reis passed for 27 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Jason Simpson caught five passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns.

After Pacifica opened the scoring with the first of three Jeff Weber field goals, Los Amigos began self-destructing.

Sualua was intercepted by Simpson at the Lobos 16 and returned in eight yards. A clipping penalty moved the ball back to the 23, but Kirkland completed a 20-yard pass to Simpson and Brett Stern punched the ball in.

Los Amigos wasn't through making mistakes, however. Niumata made the first of his two fumbles and Mariners' linebacker Willis Manley recovered on the Lobos 20. Again the Los Amigos' defense hung tough and Weber made a second field goal.

Reis boosted the lead to 20-0 with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Simpson early in the second quarter.

Niumata bolted 60 yards, taking the ball to the Mariners' 14, and fullback Anthony Faletoi rumbled another 13 yards to set up Niumata's one-yard touchdown run.

Pacifica had one big play left. With 4:11 remaining in the half at his 36-yard line, Kirkland found Simpson breaking free at the 50, led him perfectly and Simpson did the rest to complete a 64-yard scoring play.

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