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Esperanza, Edison Take Charge in Sunset

Prep football: Sonuyi does the ground work and backup quarterback Sausedo passes for a pair of touchdowns as Aztecs roll over Los Alamitos, 35-7.


Never mind that Esperanza was playing with a backup quarterback, as long as Temitope Sonuyi is in the backfield, the Aztecs are good to go.

And go they did.

Sonuyi rushed for 228 yards, Ryan Sausedo passed for two touchdowns and Esperanza set up a battle next week against Edison for the Sunset League title with a 35-7 victory over Los Alamitos.

Esperanza is 8-1 overall, 4-0 in league, and will play Edison on Thursday. Los Alamitos, the three-time defending league champion, dropped to 7-2, 2-2.

The Aztecs outscored Los Alamitos in the second half, 28-0, and gave Esperanza possession of the first Millenium Cup trophy.

"We don't need a stupid trophy to play these guys," said defensive lineman Alex deBrucky, who knocked down two of Mike Catalano's passes and led a defensive effort that throttled the Griffins.

Esperanza's offense was at full throttle in the second half. Anchored by Sonuyi, who rushed 33 times and had three touchdowns, the Aztecs drove 82 yards on their first possession of the second half, breaking a 7-7 deadlock when Sausedo connected with tight end James Melton for a 14-yard score. The pair had hooked up in the first quarter for a 16-yard touchdown that capped an 85-yard drive.

Sausedo is playing because starter Greg Farrell tore a knee ligament last week.

"When we lot Greg, there's some doubt . . . can Ryan do it?" Esperanza Coach Gary Meek said. "I had no doubt. He ran the offense as well as it's been run all year."

Sausedo completed nine of 16 passes for 131 yards and no interceptions.

He also took care of business by handing off to Sonuyi, the county's leading rusher. After Sausedo's touchdown passes provided a 14-7 lead, Sonuyi ground out the yardage and the clock.

When Joshus Birrell recovered Adam Nauta's fumble at the Los Alamitos 28, Sonuyi scored on the next play.

When Matt Hathaway intercepted his second of two passes and added a 43-yard return, Sonuyi capped a 53-yard drive on his sixth carry, a one-yard run.

When the Griffins couldn't convert in their own territory on fourth down midway through the fourth quarter, Sonuyi reeled off a 35-yard touchdown run a minute later.

"When he's 100%," Sausedo said. "he's unbelievable. And our line dominated them."

Sausedo wasn't sacked as the Aztecs outgained Los Alamitos, 412-183, and Esperanza cut the Griffins' lead in the series to 11-10-1.

Catalano, who scored on a three-yard run, completed eight of 22 passes for 67 yards. He was hurried all night, and sacked by deBrucky and Shaun Wildenstein.

"We got our butts kicked," Los Alamitos Coach John Barnes said. "I came into this game thinking we would have to be at our utmost best, and we did that the first half."


Title Bound?

In 16 of the past 19 seasons, the winner of the Esperanza-Los Alamitos game went on to win a league championship. The series (Los Alamitos leads, 11-10-1):



1981 Esperanza 28, Los Alamitos 10 1982 Esperanza 42, Los Alamitos 7 1983 Esperanza 7, Los Alamitos 6 1984 Esperanza 37, Los Alamitos 0 1985 Los Alamitos 24, Esperanza 21 1986 Los Alamitos 23, Esperanza 14 1987 Los Alamitos 13, Esperanza 10 1988 Los Alamitos 21, Esperanza 0 1989 Los Alamitos 42, Esperanza 28 1990 Esperanza 27, Los Alamitos 3 1991 Esperanza 28, Los Alamitos 7 1991 Los Alamitos 8, Esperanza 0 (Division III title game) 1992 Los Alamitos 34, Esperanza 14 1992 Los Alamitos 14, Esperanza 14 (Division II title game) 1993 Los Alamitos 49, Esperanza 0




1994 Los Alamitos 34, Esperanza 32 1995 Esperanza 21, Los Alamitos 17 1996 Esperanza 24, Los Alamitos 20 1997 Esperanza 31, Los Alamitos 28 1998 Los Alamitos 22, Esperanza 17 1999 Los Alamitos 14, Esperanza 10 2000 Esperanza 35, Los Alamitos 7


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