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ORANGE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PREP EXTRA | GARDEN
GROVE

Niumata's Ground Game Helps Los Amigos Stay Effective

October 31, 1998|MICHAEL ITAGAKI | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Although Los Amigos didn't have its full arsenal, it went to its biggest and most productive weapon to grind out a 22-11 Garden Grove League football victory over La Quinta Friday at Garden Grove High.

Andrew Niumata, who entered the week as the county's leading rusher and scorer, rushed for 220 yards in 31 carries and scored all three touchdowns for Los Amigos.

Niumata surpassed the 1,700-yard rushing mark and scored his 28th touchdown this season. And he put the Lobos (5-3, 4-1 in league) on the scoreboard by returning a first-quarter interception 61 yards for a touchdown, ending the initial possession for La Quinta (6-2, 2-2).

"Everyone did their job and I was just in the right place at the right time," Niumata said.

Niumata also carried the offensive load after starting quarterback Ao Sualua left the game in the first quarter after aggravating a back injury, Los Amigos Coach Roger Takahashi said.

"Richard is really green and I was really nervous," Takahashi said of reserve quarterback sophomore Richard Dinh, who had only played a little more than a half this season.

So the Lobos ran, ran, and ran some more . . . 31 consecutive running plays to be exact, after Sualua left the game.

The teams traded second-quarter field goals but Niumata scored on a 29-yard run in the third quarter and his two-yard touchdown run capped a 10-play, 82-yard drive to make it 22-3 with 11:47 remaining.

La Quinta committed five first-half holding penalties to help short-circuit its offense.

La Quinta's touchdown came with two seconds remaining when quarterback Thi Huyhn, who completed 14 of 22 passes for 168 yards, hooked up with Ben Fredrickson for a 30-yard scoring pass.

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