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ORANGE COUNTY SOUTHERN SECTION FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS |
DIVISION IX

Gutierrez Carries Brea Past Fullerton

November 25, 2000|VINCE DiCANZIO | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Fullerton managed to contain Brea Olinda's passing game but had no answer for running back Manuel Gutierrez as the Wildcats advanced to the Division IX semifinals with a 28-14 victory Friday at Brea Olinda High.

This is its third consecutive trip to the semifinals for Brea, which will face West Covina South Hills Friday.

"No one ever thought we'd even get out of our league," Brea Coach Robb Perrance said, "but our kids aren't tired of playing yet."

Gutierrez showed no signs of fatigue, rushing for 201 yards and three touchdowns in 28 carries, including two scores in the third quarter to dash any hopes of a Fullerton comeback.

Leading 14-7, Brea (9-3) put together its most consistent drive of the game. The Wildcats marched 77 yards in seven plays, culminating in Gutierrez's 11-yard scoring run for a two-touchdown lead.

Fullerton (9-3) threatened on its next possession, driving to Brea's 23 before Branden Nicholson intercepted a Michael Echaves pass in the end zone.

Fullerton forced Brea to punt and was looking to get good field position, but Abel Hernandez muffed his second punt reception of the game and the Wildcats recovered at their 48.

It took Brea only three plays to capitalize on the mistake as Gutierrez broke two tackles around right end and raced 45 yards to increase the lead to 28-7 late in the third quarter.

Hernandez muffed a punt in the second quarter that set up a six-yard touchdown reception by Nicholson to break a 7-7 tie.

"It was a matter of our guys just stepping up and making the plays count," Perrance said. "It's all the little things."

Brea held Ryan Murray, Fullerton's leading rusher, to 55 yards in 16 carries. Echaves completed 12 of 25 passes for 118 yards and three interceptions.

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