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Fullerton Gets Right to Work

Division IX: Indians score in first 15 seconds and go on to beat Estancia, 49-7.


Fullerton scored quickly, then the host Indians took their time. They used big plays and lots of little ones, but it all added up to a 49-7 victory over Estancia in a Southern Section Division IX playoff game Friday.

Fullerton linebacker Gerren Brantley recovered a fumble at the Estancia three on the first play from scrimmage and Ryan Murray scored on the next play to put Fullerton up 15 seconds into the game. The Indians (9-2) will meet Brea Olinda in the second round.

"We took advantage of early mistakes and just rolled from there," Fullerton Coach Julian Smilowitz said.

Fullerton, which had five rushing touchdowns, showed off its ability to control the ball, especially in the third quarter. The Indians ran 23 plays compared to Estancia's two.

Murray was the leading rusher as he gained 111 yards in 17 carries and scored two touchdowns. His second touchdown came on a 17-yard burst up the middle to give Fullerton a 28-7 lead with 6 minutes 45 seconds left in the second quarter.

The touchdown run came one play after Murray caught a screen pass and raced 43 yards down the sideline.

Fullerton, which finished second in the Freeway League, was also effective passing. Quarterback Michael Echaves was six of 11 for 220 yards. Besides the 43-yarder to Murray, he also had completions of 75 and 61 yards to wide receiver Daniel Fells.

On the 75-yarder, Fells was chased down by a determined Andy Romo of Estancia at the Eagles' four. Romo dove and just clipped Fells' ankle at the Estancia 20 on the 61-yard play.

Romo also caught three passes for 56 yards and rushed for 41 yards. The Eagles' only score came on a 36-yard pass from quarterback Kenny Valbuena to tight end David Stoddard midway through the second quarter. The pass came off a double reverse with a pitch back to Valbuena and was set up when Stoddard took a short snap on a fake punt and raced 19 yards for a first down.

But those plays were the biggest highlights for Estancia, which has not won a playoff game since 1980.

"They were a better football team and they deserved to win," Estancia Coach Dave Perkins said.

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