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ORANGE COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL

Western Beats Brea to Gain League Title, Sweet Revenge

November 11, 2000|DAN ARRITT | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Vindication was almost as sweet as victory for Western High's football team Friday night.

Western won the Orange League title from three-time defending champion Brea Olinda and ended a four-game winless streak against the Wildcats with a 35-28 victory at Brea Olinda.

"We had to get them back," said wingback David Gober, who caught three touchdown passes. "It was payback time."

Western (9-1, 5-0) tied Brea Olinda in the regular season last season, then lost a rematch in a Division IX semifinal.

The Pioneers fell behind, 14-0, in the first quarter Friday and trailed by a touchdown at the half, but their high-octane offense accounted for 249 yards and three touchdowns in the second half.

Western, which last won a league title in 1996, cemented the victory with a gutsy fake punt on fourth-and-four from the Wildcat 45 with just over a minute remaining. Rodney Eason took a short snap and ran 23 yards for a first down. Brea Olinda, without a timeout remaining, could only watch Western quarterback Mike Hicks take a knee on the final play.

"We knew [the fake punt] was coming," said Brea Olinda Coach Rob Perrance. "We just didn't play it right."

The Wildcats (7-3, 4-1) used a fake punt of their own to keep the game interesting. Trailing, 35-21, with about six minutes remaining, punter Steve Stagnaro, who also plays quarterback, hit Justin Rigsby for a 20-yard gain on fourth-and-15 from the Wildcat 37.

Brea Olinda, eating up nearly four minutes after the fake, marched down the field and scored on a nine-yard pass from Stagnaro to Dwayne Corbitt.

The Wildcats tried an on-side kick, but Gober recovered with 2:21 remaining in the game.

"If we didn't give up that fake punt of theirs, then we would've really shut them down in the second half," Western Coach Toby Howell said.

The Wildcats went 76 yards in 12 plays on their opening drive and took a 7-0 lead on a 22-yard run by Manuel Gutierrez. A key play on the drive was a pass interference call against Western on third-and-goal from the eight-yard line.

Western fumbled at midfield on its first possession, and Brea Olinda scored four plays later on a 10-yard run by Gutierrez.

Western answered with an eight-play, 76-yard drive that was capped by a 36-yard touchdown pass from Hicks to Gober. The drive was kept alive by Eason's six-yard run on fourth-and-two from the Brea 42.

The Pioneers tied the score, 14-14, on a one-yard sneak by Hicks with 2:38 left in the half, but Brea Olinda quickly answered with a 54-yard screen pass to Manuel Gutierrez for a 21-14 lead.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

ORANGE

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League Overall School W L T W L T Western 5 0 0 9 1 0 Brea Olinda 4 1 0 7 3 0 Valencia 3 2 0 6 4 0 Anaheim 2 3 0 3 7 0 Savanna 1 4 0 1 9 0 Magnolia 0 5 0 1 9 0

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